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Rev. Prof. Alexander B. Bruce, D.D. 




3 1822 02665 2784 






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BY REV. ALEXANDER B. BRUCE, D.D. 

Professor ef Apologetic: \ ttameni Exegesis. 

Free Church College, G . 



THE PARABOLIC TEACHING OF 
CHBIST. A System 

cal study cf the Parables of our 
Lord. Sto. Goth. Third Revised 
Ed.:. 

THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST, 
in its Physical. Ethical, and Offi- 
cial Aspects. Bto. Cloth. Second 
Raised Ed::: :-. $2 :: 



THE MIBACfLOES ELEMENT 15 
THE GOSPELS. Sto. Cloth. Sec- 
ond Edit is*: S; j 

THE TRAINING of the TWELVE; 

or. Passages out of the Gospeli. 
Exhibiting the twelve disc 
Jesus under discipline for the 

eship. Fourth Edition, re- 
zed, and improved. 

Cloth. j2.;o. 



*«• Aft) :' ' t to an) part of ihe lnued 

S:ices or Canada, on receipt of price, by the Publishers, 

A. C. ARMSTRONG & SON, 
51 East 10th Street, New York. 



THE HUMILIATION 
OF CHRIST 



IN ITS PHYSICAL, ETHICAL, AND 
OFFICIAL ASPECTS. 



STfje Silt!) Srrics of tfje Cunningham lectures. 



BY 
ALEXANDER BALMAIN BRUCE, D.D. 

PROFESSOR OF APOLOGETICS AND NEW TESTAMENT EXEGESIS, 
FREE CHURCH COLLEGE, GLASGOW. 

Author of "The Parabolic Teaching of Christ," "Miraculous Element 
in the Gospels,'''' etc., etc. 



SECOND EDITION REVISED AND ENLARGED. 



3Teu- XJorfc: 
C. ARMSTRONG & SON, 

51 EAST 10th STREET. 
1899. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 



IN issuing a new edition of The Humiliation of Christ, I 
desire gratefully to acknowledge the appreciative spirit in 
which a very imperfect attempt to discuss a difficult subject 
of great importance was received by the theological public. 
In this edition scarcely any alteration has been made in the 
text of the Lectures which appeared in the first edition.. 
But a new Lecture has been added, the Fifth in the present 
volume, on Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person,. 
which completes my original design. In this Lecture I 
have utilized the notes which appeared in the Appendix 
of the former edition on the Ideal-Man Theory of Christ's 
Person, and on the title " Son of man," replacing them by 
new notes on other topics. I have also in the same Lec- 
ture embodied the substance of an article on Naturalistic 
Views of Christ's Person, which appeared in the British 
and Foreign Evangelical Review for January 1879. For the 
benefit of readers not familiar with the Greek and German 
languages I have given English translations of extracts 
from these tongues occurring in the Appendix, along with 
the original. I have not thought it necessary to follow the 
same course with extracts in notes at the foot of the page 
in the body of the work, because the drift of all such ex- 
tracts is given in the text, so that the English reader loses 
nothing, except the power of verifying the accuracy of my 
representations. It was simply for the purpose of such 
verification that the extracts were given. I trust that 



iv 

these additions will have the effect of rendering the book 
more useful and acceptable. If I have not made more ex- 
tensive alterations, it is not for want of a deep sense of the 
defects of my performance. If there are passages in the 
volume which do not satisfy the mind of the reader, they 
probably still less satisfy the mind of the writer. And yet 
I am not sure that if I were to try I could make them bet- 
ter. Let me express the hope that, in spite of defects, 
these studies may promote growth in the knowledge of 
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and by their very short- 
comings stir up others to handle the high theme more 
worthily. 

The Author. 



CONTENTS. 



LECTURE I 



CHRISTOLOGICAL AXIOMS. 



The Purpose Explained, 

The Doctrine of the States in Dogmatic Systems, 

The Kenotic School, 

The Advantages of the Method, 

The Axioms difficult to fix, . 

The Previous Question, 

Phil. ii. 5-9 explained, 

The Axioms thence deduced, 

Christ's Humiliation in Epistle to the Hebrews, 

Doctrine of the Homousia there taught, 

The Humiliation a Glorification, 

Two additional Axioms, . . . 

Plan of the Course, .... 



I 
2 

4 

6 

8 

10 

15 
22 

25 
27 

30 
36 
37 



LECTURE II. 



THE PATRISTIC CHRISTOLOGY. 



Formula of Chalcedon, 












39 


Apollinarian Theory of Christ's Pers 
Criticism of the Theory, 
Nestorian Controversy, 
Cyril on the Kenosis, . 


on, 










40 

45 
48 

5i 


Theodoret on the Kenosis, . , 












54 


Cyril on Christ's Ignorance, 
Eutychianism, . . 
Lee's Letter to Flavian, 












55 
60 

63 


The Dreary Period of Christology, 
John of Damascus, . 












69 
7i 


Thomas Aquinas, 

New Ideas in the Summa, 












74 

75 


Christ both Co?nprehensor and Viatc 


r, 










S3 



VI 



Contents. 



LECTURE III. 



THE LUTHERAN AND REFORMED CHRISTOLOGIES. 



Origin of the Controversy, 

Stages of the Controversy, 

The Christology of John Brentz, 

The Christology of Martin Chemnitz, 

The Formula of Concord, 

Lutheran Christology criticised, 

The Reformed Christology, . 

The Reformed Christology criticised, 

By the Logos through His Spirit, 

Double Consciousness or Double Life ? 

Realism of Reformed Christology, . 

Zanchius and Hulsius on Christ's Ignorance 

The Homousia in Reformed Christology, 



83 
84 
86 
96 
105 
107 

i'5 
121 
125 
127 
I3c 
130 
»33 



LECTURE IV. 



THE MODERN KENOTIC THEORIES. 



Relation of these Theories to the Old Christologies, 

Zinzendorf Father of Modern Kenosis, 

Four Types distinguished, 

The Theory of Thomasius, 

Theory of Gess, 

Theory of Ebrard, . 

Theory of Martensen, 

Criticism of these Theories, 



>34 
137 
139 
139 
«45 
153 
160 
164 



LECTURE V. 



MODERN HUMANISTIC THEORIES OF CHRIST'S PERSON. 



Classification of, 
Thoroughgoing Naturalism, . 
Ideal-Man Theory— Schleiermacher, 
Sentimental Naturalism — Keim, 
Nondescript Eclectic Naturalism— Haweis, 
Ideal-Man Theory— Beyschlag, 
Conclusion of the Survey, 



194 
196 
207 
209 
218 
223 
235 



Contents. 



VII 



LECTURE VI. 



CHRIST THE SUBJECT OF TEMPTATION AND MORAL DEVELOPMENT. 



Physical Infirmities a Source of Temptation, 

Hilary denied the Physical Infirmities, 

Hilary's Apologists, . 

Cause of Hilary's Error, 

Adoptianist View of Christ's Humanity, 

Menken and Irving taught same Views, 

Christ's relation to Disease and Death, 

Temptation and Sinlessness, 

Potuit non and non potuit, . 

Christ's Moral Development, 

Christ perfected, how ? 

Christ's Priesthood, when begun ? 

Is a Sinless Development possible ? 



237 
238 
242 

247 
250 
251 

258 
264 
269 
274 
276 
280 
285 



LECTURE VII. 



THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST IN ITS OFFICIAL ASPECT. 



Christ a Servant, ..... 

Christ's Humiliation as an Apostle, . 

Socinian Theory of Salvation, . 

Christ's Humiliation as a Priest, 

The Sanctifier one with the Sanctified, 

Sympathy a Source of Suffering, 

Sympathy Theory of Atonement, 

Christ, as a Priest, a Representative; as Victim, a Substitute, 

Theory of Redemption by Sample, . 

Mystic and Legal Aspects of Atonement compatible, 

Were Christ's Sufferings penal, 

M'Leod Campbell's Theory, 

Bushnell's Latest Views, .... 

Manifold Wisdom of God in Redemption, . 

Justice and Love both satisfied, 

Ritschl and Arnold on the Leading Idea of the Bible, 

Christ's Fellowship with His Father uninterrupted, 

Under Divine Wrath during whole State of Humiliation, 

Did Christ suffer Eternal Death ? . 

Acceptilation Theory, .... 

Elements of Value in the Atonement, 

Scripture Representations of Christ's Sufferings, 

Summary Formula, ..... 

Philippi's Equation, ..... 

Theories of Atonement classified. 



291 
294 
298 
301 
301 
3°4 
305 
309 
3" 
317 
3i8 

319 

322 
326 
328 
332 
335 
337 
34i 
343 
344 
347 
348 
349 
3S 2 



Vlll 



Contents. 



APPENDIX. 



Lect. I. Note A, 
Lect. ii. Note a. 
Lect. III. Note A. 

,, Note B. 

Note C. 



)) 


Note D. 


1 » 


Note E. 


Lect. 


IV. Note A.- 


)> 


Note B. 


!» 


Note C. 


)) 


Note D. 


• ) 


Note E.- 


If 


Note F. 


»» 


Note G. 


Lect. 


VI. Note A. 


>i 


Note B. 


yt 


Note C. 


Lect. VII. Note A. 


ii 


Note B. 


»» 


Note C. 


i> 


Note D. 


it 


Note E. 



—On Phil. ii. 6-8, . . . . .359 

— Extract.- from Cyril on Christ's Ignoranee, . . 368 
— Connection between Lutheran Christology ar.d the 

Sacramentarian Controversy, . . . 375 
— Tllbingen-Giessen Controversy concerning Krypsis 

and Kenosis, . . . . 376 
— Schneckenburger on Connection between Lutheran 

Christology and Modern Speculative Christology, 380 

—Schweitzer on Reformed Christology, . . 382 

—Reformed Views of the Impersonality, . . 384 

— Kenotic Literature belonging 1, to Thomasian Type, . 388 

— Kenotic Literature belonging to Gessian Type, . 396 

— Ebrard's Prefaces to his Works, . . . 413 
— Ebrard's Solutions of Speculative Christological 

Problems, ...... 414 

—Kenotic Literature belonging to Martensen Type, . 419 

—The Christology of Zinzendorf, . . . 425 

—Cyril on Metamorphic Kenosis, . . . 429 

—On the Temperament of Christ, . . . 43a 

—Views of Naturalistic Theologians on "the Flesh," . 431 

— Socinus on the Priesthood of Christ, . . . 437 

— The Pauline Doctrine of Atonement, . . . 439 

—Rupert of Duytz on Christ as a Penitent, . . 442 
— Reformed and Lutheran Opinions on the Question, 

Did Christ suffer Spiritual and Eternal Death ? . 443 
— St. Bernard on the Greatness of Christ's Sufferings, 

and its Cause, ..... 447 
—Jonathan Edwards on the Sense in which Christ 

endured Divine Wrath, .... 449 



INDEX. 



45' 



LECTURE I. 

CHRISTOLOGICAL AXIOMS. 

I PURPOSE in the following lectures to employ the teaching 
of Scripture, concerning the humiliation of the Son of God, 
as an aid in the formation of just views on some aspects of 
the doctrine of Christ's person, experience, and work, and 
as a guide in the criticism of various Christological and 
Soteriological theories. The task I enter on is arduous 
and delicate. It is arduous, because it demands at least 
a tolerable acquaintance, at first hand as far as possible, 
with an extensive literature of ancient, modern, and recent 
origin, the recent alone being sufficiently ample to occupy 
the leisure of a pastor for years. It is delicate, because 
the subject, while of vital interest in a religious point of 
view, is also theologically abstruse. The way of truth is 
narrow here, and through ignorance or inadvertence one 
may easily fall into error, while desiring to maintain, and 
even honestly believing that he is maintaining, the catholic 
faith. It has, indeed, sometimes been asserted that it is 
impossible to avoid error on the subject of the person of 
Christ, all known or conceivable theories oscillating be- 
tween Ebionitism and Doketism. 1 This, it may be hoped, 
is the exaggeration of persons not themselves believers in 
the catholic doctrine of our Lord's divinity; yet it is an 
exaggeration in which there is so much truth, that it is 
difficult to enter on a discussion of questions relating to 
that great theme without conscious fear and trembling. 

1 I venture to print the words docetism and docetic with k instead of c (doketism, 
doketic), following the example of Mr. Grote, who in his History of Greece thus 
renders all Greek names in which k occurs into English, e.g. Sokrates instead of 
Socrates. One objection to the spelling docetism is, that to ill-informed minds 
it may suggest a derivation from doceo instead of from Soxioo. The terms doketism 
and doketic apply to that view of our Lord's person which makes His human 
aature and life a mere appearance. 



2 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Yet, on the other hand, no one can discuss to any purpose 
these questions in a timid spirit. Successful treatment 
demands not only reverence and caution, but audacity. 
Without boldness, both in faith and in thought, it is 
impossible to rise to the grandeur of the truth in Christ, 
as set forth in Scripture. Courage is required even for 
believing in the Incarnation; and still more for the scien- 
tific discussion thereof. What can one do, then, but 
proceed with firm step, trusting to the gracious guidance 
of God; expecting, in the words of St. Hilary, 1 that "He 
may incite the beginnings of this trembling undertaking, 
confirm them with advancing progress, and call the writer 
to fellowship with the spirit of prophets and apostles, that 
he may understand their sayings in the sense in which they 
spoke them, and follow up the right use of words with the 
same conceptions of things " ? 

The attempt I now propose to make is beset with 
additional difficulty, arising out of its comparative novelty. 
It has not been the practice of theological writers to assign 
to the category of the states of Christ, or of the state of 
humiliation in particular, the dominant position which it 
is to occupy in the present course of lectures. In most 
dogmatic systems, doubtless, there is a chapter devoted 
to the locus, De Static Christi; but in some instances 
it forms a meagre appendix to the doctrines of Christ's per- 
son, or of His work, which might be dispensed with;' in 
other cases it is a mere framework, within which are included 
in summary form the leading facts of our Lord's history 
as recorded in the Gospels; 3 while in a third class of cases 
it serves the purpose of an apology or defence for a foregone 
Christological conclusion. 4 Exclusive study of the older 

1 De Trin. lib. i. 38. The style of this Father is so obscure that it is scarcely 
warrantable to quote from him without giving the original. His words are: " Ex- 
pectamus ergo, ut trepide hujus coepti exordia incites, et profectu accrescente con- 
firmes, et ad consortium vel prophetalis vel apostolici spiritus voces; ut dicta 
eorum non alio quam ipsi locuti sunt sensu apprehendamus, verborumque propri- 
etates iisdem rerum significationibus exsequamur." 

2 In Turretine, the chapter " De Duplici Christi Statu " scarcely occupies two 
pages. Calvin and the older Reformed dogmatists make no use of the category 
a t all. 3 So in Heidegger, Corpus theologiae, locus xviii. 

* So with the Lutheran divines, concerning whom Strauss justly remarks (Glau- 
benslehre, vol. ii. 139), that they used the distinction of a twofold state, partly to 



Christological Axioms. 



"& 



dogmatists would tend to discourage the idea of com- 
mencing a discussion on Christology with the doctrine of 
Exinanition as a mere conceit; or, to speak more correctly, 
it would probably prevent such a thought from ever arising 
in the mind. And yet the discriminating study of these 
very authors shows that the truths relating to the humil- 
iation of Christ have exercised a more extensive influence 
on the doctrines of Christ's person and work than the bare 
contents of the locus De Statu Christi would lead one to 
suppose. This is especially manifest in the case of the- 
ologians belonging to the Reformed confession, whose whole 
views of Christ's person and work have been largely formed 
under the influence of the important principle of the like- 
ness of Christ's humanity in nature and experience to 
that of other men. 1 Instances are even not wanting among 
the Reformed theologians of treatises on the Incarnation, 
commencing with a careful endeavour to fix the meaning 
of the locus classicus bearing on the subject of our Lord's 
humiliation, that, viz., in the Epistle to the Philippians. a 
Lutheran divines, on the other hand, constructed their 
Christology in utter defiance of the doctrine of humiliation, 
making the Incarnation, in its idea, consist in a deification 
of humanity rather than in a descent of God into humanity, 
and investing the human nature of Christ with all divine 
attributes, even with such metaphysical ones as are com- 
monly regarded and described as incommunicable. But 
even in their case our category took revenge for the neg- 
lect it experienced at their hands, by compelling them, 
out of regard to facts and to the end of the Incarnation, 
to take down again their carefully constructed Christ- 
ological edifice; the chapter on Exinanition being in effect 
an attempt to bring the fantastic humanity of Christ back 
to reality and nature, down from the clouds to the solid 

complete, partly to cover, their dogma of the communicatio idiomatum. In Ger- 
hard's Loci, cap. x.-xiii. of locus iv. (De Persona et Officio Christi) treat of the 
(ommunicatio idiomatum in general, and in its particular forms; and cap. xiv. treats 
De Statu exinanitionis et exaltationis. 

1 Called in theological language the Homotisia {6/noov6ia). 

2 E.g. Zanchius, De Incarnatione filii Dei. Zanchius was a contemporary of 
the authors of the Fortnula Concordiae, and wrote a defence of the Admoniti* 
Christiana — the Reformed reply to that document. 



4 The Humiliation of Christ. 

earth; an attempt which, as we shall see, was far from 
being perfectly successful. 

While the importance of keeping ever in view the doc- 
trine of the states can only be inferred from the internal 
character of the old Christologies, in spite of the subor- 
dinate place assigned thereto in the formal structure 
of theological systems, it is, on the other hand, a matter 
of distinct consciousness with more recent writers on 
Christological themes. In passing from the system- 
builders of the seventeenth century to the theologians of 
the nineteenth, one is emboldened to trust the instinct 
which tells him that the category of the states is not merely 
entitled to have some sort of recognition- in theology out 
of deference to the prominence given to it in Scripture, 
but is a point of view from which the whole doctrine con- 
cerning Christ's person and work may be advantageously 
surveyed. The method now contemplated has in effect 
been adopted by a whole school of modern theologians, 
who have made the idea of the Kenosis the basis of their 
Christological inquiries. The various Kenotic theories 
emanating from this school are, as we shall see, by no 
means criticism-proof; but their authors have at least done 
one good service to Christology, by insisting that no 
theory of Christ's Person can be regarded as satisfactory 
which is not able to assign some real meaning to their 
watchword, in relation to the divine side of that Person. 
The legitimacy and the importance of the proposed method 
of inquiry have also been recognised by a distinguished 
German theologian who was not an adherent of the Ken- 
otic school, his sympathies being with the old Reformed 
Christology, and whose opinion on such a matter must 
command the respect of all. I allude to Schneckenburger, 
author of the instructive work entitled, Comparative Exhib- 
ition of the Lutheran and the Reformed Doctrinal Systems, 1 
one of many valuable treatises on Christological and other 

1 Vergleichende Darstelhing des Lutherischen und Reformirten Lehrbegriffs. 
This work was published atter the author's death in 1855, the MSS. being pre- 
pared for publication by Gtider, a pupil of Schneckenburger's, who has prefixed 
to the work an interesting discussion on the question as to the origin of the differ- 
ence in the theological systems of the two confessions. 



Christolozical Axioms. 



%5 



topics which owed their origin to the ecclesiastical move- 
ment towards the re-union of the two branches of the 
German Protestant Church, long unhappily separated by 
divergent views on the questions to whose discussion that 
copious literature is devoted. Besides the work just 
named, Schneckenburger wrote a special treatise on the 
two states of Christ, 1 designed as a contribution to eccle- 
siastical Christology, in which he endeavoured to show 
that the doctrines of the states taught respectively by the 
two contrasted confessions involved a corresponding modi- 
fication of view not only on Christ's person, but also on the 
nature of His work on earth and in heaven, on the justifica- 
tion of believers, and even on the whole religious and 
ecclesiastical life of the two communions. It is true, 
indeed, that the proof of this position does not settle the 
question which was the determining factor, the doctrine of 
the states, or the other doctrines to which it stands re- 
lated. It does, however, serve to show this at least, that 
the related doctrines of the states and of the person being, 
in mathematical language, functions of each other, it is in 
our option to begin with either, and use it as a help in the 
determination of the other. Nor has the distinguished 
writer to whom I have alluded left us in uncertainty as to 
which of the two courses he deemed preferable. Criticis- 
ing the rectification of the Lutheran Christology proposed 
by Thomasius, the founder of the modern Kenotic school, 
he says: " The position that the doctrine of the person 
should not be explained by that of the states, but inversely, 
because the former is the foundation of the latter, is one 
which I must contradict, nay, which the author himself 
(Thomasius) virtually contradicts, inasmuch as he seeks to 
shape the doctrine of the person, or to improve it, by the 
idea of the states, especially by the doctrine of redemption, 
in so far as it falls within the state of humiliation." 2 I have 
no doubt this view is a just one. Indeed, it appears to me 
that the history of Lutheran Christology affords abundant 
evidence of the desirableness of commencing Christological 

1 Zar Kirchlichen Christologie: Die orthodoxe Lehre vom doppelten Standi 
Christi nach Lutherischer und Reformirter Fassung. This work was published 
before the other, in 1848. * Vom doppelten Stande Christi, p. 202. 



6 The Humiliation of Christ. 

inquiries with a careful endeavour to form a correct view of 
the doctrine of the states, and especially of the Scripture 
teaching concerning our Lord's humiliation. Had the 
Lutheran theologians followed this course, it is probable 
that their peculiar Christology would never have come into 
existence, and would therefore have stood in no need of 
rectification. 

Theologically legitimate, the method I propose is recom- 
mended by practical considerations. Starting from the 
central idea, that the whole earthly history of our Saviour 
is the result and evolution of a sublime act of self-humilia- 
tion, the doctrine of His person becomes invested with a 
high ethical interest. An advantage this not to be over- 
looked in connection with any theological truth involving 
mysteries perplexing to reason. A mysterious doctrine, 
divested of moral interest, and allowed to assume the 
aspect of a mere metaphysical speculation, is a doctrine 
destined ere long to be discarded. Such, for example, 
must be the inevitable fate of the doctrine of an immanent 
Trinity when it becomes dissociated in men's minds from 
practical religious interests, and degenerates into an ab- 
stract tenet. The Trinity, to be secure, must be connected 
in thought with the Incarnation, even as at the first, when 
it obtained for itself gradually a place in the creed of the 
Church in connection with efforts to understand the nature 
and person of Christ; 1 even as the Incarnation itself, in 
turn, is secure only when it is regarded ethically as a 
revelation of divine grace. The effect of divorcing doctrinal 
from moral interests was fully seen in the last century, 
when the Trinity and kindred dogmas were quietly dropped 
out of the living belief of the Church, though retained in 
the written creed. Men then said to themselves, " What 
is practical, what is of moral utility, is alone of value; the 
doctrines of the Trinity and of the Deity of Christ are mere 
theological mysteries, therefore they may be ignored ! " 
Thus, as Dorner, speaking of the period in question, re- 
marks, " Many a point which forms a constitutive element 
of the Christian consciousness was treated as non-essential, 

1 Vid. Dorner, History of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. L 
p. 49 (Clark's translation). 



Christological Axioms. 7 

on the ground of its being unpractical; and in particular, 
essential portions of Christology, and of that which is con- 
nected with it, were set aside." 1 The same spirit of narrow 
religious utilitarianism, of overweening value for the practi- 
cal and the "verifiable," is abroad at the present time, 
working steadily towards the restoration of the state of 
things which prevailed in last century; and those who are 
concerned to counterwork the evil tendency, must apply 
their energies to the task of showing that discredited doc- 
trines are not the dry, metaphysical dogmas they are taken 
for, but rather a refuge from dry metaphysics — truths 
which, however mysterious, are yet of vital ethical and re- 
ligious moment; even the doctrine of the Trinity itself 
being the product of an ethical view of the divine nature, 
the embodiment of " the only complete ethical idea of 
God," 2 not to be abandoned except at the risk of falling 
into either Pantheism or Atheism. 

In this point of view it appears advisable to give great 
prominence to the self-humiliation of Christ in connection 
with Christological inquiries. This method of procedure 
procures for us the advantage of starting with an idea which 
is dear to the Christian heart, with which faith will not 
willingly part, and for the sake of which it will readily ac- 
cept truths surpassing human comprehension. If the great 
thought, under whose guidance we advance, do not con- 
duct us to new discoveries, it will at all events redeem the 
subjects of our study from the blighting influence of 
scholasticism. 

In the New Testament, and more especially in the Epis- 
tle of Paul to the Philippians, and in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, are to be found certain comprehensive statements 
concerning the meaning and purpose of our Lord's appear- 
ance on earth. These statements our method requires us 

1 Vid. Dorner, History of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. iii. 
p. 28 (Clark's translation). 

2 This view is strongly maintained by Liibner in his Christologie (p. 66), a 
work of a very speculative character, and Kenotic in its Christology, but full ol 
valuable and suggestive thoughts, and abounding in interesting expositions and 
criticisms of contemporary opinions. Liebner's work is especially valuable for 
the vigoui with which it asserts the ethical conception of God over against the 
Huutheistic ai the one hand, and the Deistic on the other. 



8 The Humiliation of Christ. 

in the first place to consider with the view of ascertaining 
what they imply, that we may use the inferences they seem 
to warrant as axioms in all our subsequent discussions. 
As the truths we are in quest of are to serve the purpose 
of axioms, they must, of course, be of an elementary char- 
acter; but they are not on that account to be despised. 
The axiom, that things which are equal to the same thing 
are equal to one another, is a very elementary truth; but 
it is nevertheless one which you cannot neglect without 
serious consequences to your system of geometry. In 
theology, as in mathematics, much depends on the axioms; 
not a few theological errors have arisen from oversight of 
some simple commonplace truth. 

Our object being merely to fix the axioms, it will not be 
necessary that we should enter into any elaborate, detailed, 
and exhaustive description of the doctrine of the states, or 
to attempt more than a general survey. And, further, as 
the main business of Christology is to form a true concep- 
tion of the historical person Jesus Christ, we may confine 
our attention chiefly to the earlier of the two states which 
belongs to history and falls within our observation, con- 
cerning which alone we possess much information, and 
around which the human interest mainly revolves. Of 
the state of exaltation I shall speak only occasionally, 
when a fitting opportunity occurs. 

In addressing ourselves, then, to the task of discovering 
Christological axioms, we are obliged to acknowledge that 
the fixation of these is unhappily no easy matter. Few of 
the axioms are axiomatic in the sense of being truths 
universally admitted. The diversity of opinion prevailing 
among interpreters in regard to the meaning of the prin- 
cipal passage bearing on the subject of Christ's humiliation 
— that, namely, in the second chapter of Paul's Epistle to 
the Philippians — is enough to fill the student with despair, 
and to afflict him with intellectual paralysis. In regard 
to the kenosis spoken of there, for example, the widest 
divergence of view prevails. Some make the kenosis scarce- 
ly more than a skenosis, — the dainty assumption by the 
unchangeable One of a humanity which is but a doketic 
husk, a semi-transparent tent, wherein Deity sojourns, and 



Christological Axioms. 9 

through which His glory, but slightly dimmed, shines with 
dazzling brightness. The Son of God, remaining in all 
respects what He was before His incarnation, became 
what He was not, and so emptied Himself. Others ascribe 
to the kenosis some sense relatively to the divine nature; 
holding that the incarnation involved even for that nature 
a change to some extent; that the Son of God did not re- 
main in all respects as He was; that at least He underwent 
an occultation of His glory. A third class of expositors 
make the kenosis consist not merely in a veiling of the 
divine glory, but in a depotentiation of the divine nature, so 
that in the incarnate Logos remained only the bare essence 
of Deity stripped of its metaphysical attributes of omni- 
potence, omniscience, and omnipresence. According to a 
fourth school, the kenosis refers not to the divine nature, 
but to the human nature of Christ. He, being in the form 
of God, shown to be a divine man by His miracles and by 
His moral purity, emptied Himself of the cfivine attributes 
with which He, as a man, was endowed, so far as use at 
least was concerned, and in this self-denial set Himself 
forth as a pattern to all Christians, as well as fitted 
Himself for being the Redeemer from sin. 

It is specially discouraging to the inquirer after first prin- 
ciples to find, as he soon does, that, as a rule, the interpre- 
tation of the passage in question depends on the inter- 
preter's theological position. So much is this the case, that 
one can almost tell beforehand what views a particular ex- 
positor will take, provided his theological school be once 
ascertained. On the question, for example — a most impor- 
tant one — respecting the proper subject of the proposition 
beginning with the words, "Who, being in the form of 
God," 1 expositors take sides according to their theological 
bias. The old orthodox Lutherans almost as a matter of 
course reply, " The subject concerning whom the affirma- 
tion is made is the Logos incarnate (ensarkos), the man 
Christ Jesus; the meaning of the apostle being, that the 
man Christ Jesus, being in the form of God, and possessing 
as man divine attributes, did nevertheless, while on earth, 

> Phil. ii. 6. 



io The Humiliation of Christ. 

make little or no use of these attributes; but in effect 
emptied Himself of them, and assumed servile form, and 
was in fashion and habit as other men." The old Reformed 
theologians, on the other hand, after the example of the 
Church Fathers, with equal unanimity reply, "The subject 
of whom Paul speaks is the Logos before incarnation 
(asarkos), the Son of God personally pre-existent before He 
became man; and the sense is, that He, being in the form 
of God, subsisting as a divine being before the incarnation, 
emptied Himself, by being made in the likeness of man, and 
taking upon Him the form of a servant." Among modern 
theologians, the advocates of the kenosis, in the sense of a 
metaphysical self-exinanition of the Logos, whether be- 
longing to the Lutheran or to the Reformed confession, 
side with the Fathers and with the old Reformed dogma- 
tists. Those, on the other hand, who reject the doctrine 
of an immanent Trinity, and along with it the personal 
pre-existence of the Logos, naturally adopt the view of the 
Lutheran dogmatists, and understand the passage as re- 
ferring exclusively to the historical person, the man Christ 
Jesus. They can do nothing else so long as they claim to 
have Biblical support for their theological and Christolog- 
ical systems. They come to this text with a firm convic- 
tion that it cannot possibly contain any reference to a free, 
conscious act of the pre-existent Logos. In arguing with 
expositors of this school there is therefore a previous ques- 
tion to be settled: Is the Church doctrine of the Trinity 
scriptural, or is it not ? 

This is, indeed, the previous question for all Christologi- 
cal theories. Every one who would form for himself a con- 
ception of the person of Christ must first determine his 
idea of God, and then bring that idea to his Christological 
task as one of its determining factors. Accordingly, in com- 
plete treatises on the person and work of Christ, like that 
of Thomasius, 1 we find the Christian idea of God and the 
doctrine of the Trinity discussed under the head of Christ- 
ological presuppositions. In the present course of lectures, 
such a discussion would of course be altogether out of 

1 Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk. Darstelhtng der Evangelisch-Lutfur 
itchen Dogmatik vom Mittelpunkte der Christologie aus. 



Christological Axioms. 1 1 

place; but I may here take occasion to express my con- 
viction, that what I have called the previous question of 
Christology, is destined to become the question of the day 
in this country, as it has been for some time past in Ger- 
many. What is God ? Is personality, involving self-con- 
sciousness and self-determination, predicable of the Divine 
Being; or is He, or rather it, merely the unknown ai.c 
unknowable substratum of all phenomena, 1 the impersonal 
immanent spirit of nature, the unconscious moral order of 
the world in which the idea of the good somehow and to 
some extent realizes itself, 3 the absolute Idea become An- 
other in physical nature, and returning to itself and attain- 
ing to personality in man; becoming incarnate not in an 
individual man, but in the human race at large ? 3 — such, 
according to all present indications, are the momentous 
questions on which the thoughts of men are about to be 
concentrated. And if one may venture to predict the re- 
sult of the great debate, it will probably be to show that 
between Pantheism, under one or other of its forms, mate- 
rialistic or idealistic, and the Christian doctrine of God, in 
which the ethical predominates, there is no tenable posi- 
tion; in the words of a German theologian whom I have 
already had occasion to quote: " That the whole of specu- 
lative theology stands in suspense between the pure abstract 
One, general Being, lv nod ndv, in which God and world 
alike go down, and the ethical hypostatical Trinity, or be- 
tween the boldest, emptiest, hardest Pantheism, and the 
completed ethical personalism of Christianity; all panthe- 
istic and theistic modes, from Spinoza to the most devel- 
oped forms of modern Theism, being only transition and 
oscillation which cannot abide." 4 

The influence of theological bias on the exegesis of the 
locus classictis in the Epistle to the Philippians being 
apparent in the case of so many theologians of highest 

1 Vid. Herbert Spencer, Synthetic Philosophy, First Principles, part i. 

" Vid. Strauss, Die christliche Glaubenslehre, i. 392, and Mr. Matthew Arnold, 
Literature and Dogma. Arnold defines God as a Power that makes for righteous- 
ness; the power being impersonal, and, so to speak, neuter. Arnold's Power 
making for righteousness is the same with Fichte's moral order of the world, r» 
garded simply as an ultimate fact, not as the result of a personal Providence 

3 So Hegel. < Liebner, Ckristologie, pp. 266-7. 



12 The Humiliation of Christ. 

reputation, it would be intolerable conceit in any man to 
claim exemption therefrom. I, for my part, have no desire 
to put forth such a claim. On the contrary, I avow my 
wish to arrive at a particular conclusion with respect to the 
interpretation of the passage; one, viz., which should assign 
a reality to the idea of a Being in the form of God by a free 
act of gracious condescension becoming man. I am de- 
sirous to have ground for believing that the apostle speaks 
here not only of the exemplary humility of the man Jesus, 
but of the more wonderful, sublime self-humiliation of the 
pre-existent personal Son of God. For then I should have 
Scripture warrant for believing that moral heroism has a 
place within the sphere of the divine nature, and that love 
is a reality for God as well as for man. I do not wish, if I 
can help it, to worship an unknown or unknowable God 
called the Absolute, concerning whom or which all Bible 
representations are mere make-believe, mere anthropomor- 
phism; statements expressive not of absolute truth, but 
simply of what it is well that we should think and feel con- 
cerning God. I am not disposed to subject my idea of God 
to the category of the Absolute, which, like Pharaoh's lean 
kine, devours all other attributes, even for the sake of 
the most tempting apologetic advantages which that cate- 
gory may seem to offer. A poor refuge truly from unbelief 
is the category of the Absolute ! " We know not God in 
Himself," says the Christian apologist, 1 "therefore we can 
never know that what the Bible says of Him is false, and ma}' 
rationally receive it as true." " We know not God," rejoins 
the agnostic man of science; 2 " and the more logical infer- 
ence is, that all affirmations concerning Him in the Bible 
or elsewhere are incompetent; the Bible God is an eidolon 
whose worship is only excusable because it is wholesome 
in tendency." " God, strictly speaking, has no attributes, 
but is mere and simplest essence, which admits of no real 
difference, nor any composition either of things or of modes," 
declares the old orthodox dogmatist.* " So be it," replies 
a formidable modern opponent of orthodoxy, Dr. Baur of 

1 Jld. Mansel, Limits of Religious Thought. 

" Vid. Herbert Spencer, First Principles. 

* Quenstedt, quoted by Baur, Lehre von der Drcieinigkeit, vol. iii. p. 340. 



Christological Axioms. 13 

Tubingen, 1 " I agree with you, but that proposition amounts 
to substantial Pantheism; " and the theological system of 
Schleiermacher shows that Baur is right. If, therefore, we 
wish to believe with our hearts in the Bible, we must hold 
fast by the ethical conception of God; and whatever dis- 
putes arise between us and others holding in common with 
us the same general idea of the Divine Being, we must 
settle on ethical grounds, not fleeing for refuge from per- 
plexities to an idea of God which removes the very founda- 
tions of faith, and becoming in effect Pantheists or Atheists 
in order that we may not be Socinians. It is in vain to 
think of saving the catholic faith on the principles of theo- 
logical nescience; foolish to seek escape from moral diffi- 
culties by means of sceptical metaphysics. As Maurice, in 
his reply to Mansel, well says: "Such an apology for the 
faith costs too much." 2 It saves such doctrines as those 
of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the Atonement at 
the cost of all the moral interest which properly belongs to 
them, and converts them into mere mysteries, which must 
be received because we are not able to refute them; but 
which, in spite of all the apologist's skill, will not be re- 
ceived, but will meet the fate of all mere mysteries devoid 
of moral interest, — that of being neglected, or even ridi- 
culed, as they have been lately by the author of Literature 
and Dogma; ridiculed not in mere wantonness, though that 
is not wanting, but in the interest of a practical ethical use 
of the Bible as a book not intended to propound idle theo- 
logical puzzles, but to lead men into the way of right conduct. 
Holding such views, desirous to believe in a God abso- 
lutely full of moral contents, knowable on the ethical side 
of His nature truly though not perfectly, like man in that 
which most exalts human nature, — loving with a love like 
that of good men, — only incomparably grander, rising in 
point of magnanimity high above human love, as heaven is 
high above the earth, 3 passing knowledge in dimensions, but 
perfectly comprehensible in nature, 4 I am predisposed to 

1 Baur, Lehre von der Dreieinigkeit, vol. iii. pp. 339-352. 

* Maurice, What is Revelation? p. 131. 3 Isa. Iv. 8, 9. 

* Eph. iii. 18, 19. There is an unknowableness of God taught here, but it is a 
very different one from that asserted by the philosophy of the Absolute. It is the 



14 TJie Humiliation of Christ. 

agree with those who find in the famous text from the 
Epistle to the Philippians a clear reference to an act of con- 
descension on the part of the pre-existent Son of God, in 
virtue of which He became man. Schleiermacher naively 
objects to the idea of humiliation as applied to the earthly 
state of Christ, because it implies a previous higher state 
from which the self-humbled One descended, — a view 
which he regards as at once destructive of the unity of 
Christ's person, and incompatible with the nature of God, 
the absolutely Highest and Eternal. 1 What Schleier- 
macher objects to in the idea of humiliation, appears tome 
its chief recommendation; and I agree with Martensen in 
thinking it a capital defect in Schleiermacher's Christology 
that it excludes the idea of the pre-existence of the Son, 
and along with it, the idea of a condescending revelation 
of love on the part of the eternal Logos. 2 I refuse to accept 
an idea of God which makes such condescension impossible 
or meaningless; nor am I able to regard that as the abso- 
lutely Highest which cannot stoop down from its altitude. 
The glory of God consists not simply in being high, but 
in that He, the highest and greatest, can humble Himself 
in love to be the lowest and least. The moral, not the 
metaphysical, is the highest, if not the distinctive, in the 
Divine Being. 

While making this frank — it may even appear ostenta- 
tious — avowal of theological bias, and confessing that the 
Scriptures would contain for me no revelation of God, did 
they not teach a doctrine of divine grace capable of taking 
practical historical shape in an Incarnation, I do not admit 
that it is a far-fetched or strained interpretation which 

unknowableness as to dimensions of a love believed to be most real, and in its 
nature comprehensible. It is the same kind of unknowableness which is spoken oi 
in Job. xi. 7. It is not a question whether God can be known at all, but a ques- 
tion of finding out the Almighty unto perfection — of taking the measure of the 
Divine Being. The Scripture doctrine of divine unknowableness is the very op- 
posite extreme to that of the philosophers. "Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the 
heavens, Thy truth reacheth unto the clouds: Thy righteousness is like the great 
mountains^ Thy judgments are a great deep," say the Scriptures. " Mercy, truth, 
righteousness, judgment, are words which convey no absolutely true meaning wilt 
reference to the Divine Being," says the philosophy of the Absolute. 

1 Glaubenslekre, ii. p. 159. 

2 Die Christliche Dogmatik, p. 252. 



Christological Axioms. i5 

brings such a doctrine out of Paul's words in his Epistle to 
the Philippians. That interpretation appears to me the 
one which would naturally occur to the mind of any per- 
son coming to the passage, bent solely on ascertaining its 
meaning, without reference to his own theological opinions. 
It may be regarded as a presumption in favour of this view 
when writers like Schleiermacher and Strauss, neither of 
them a believer in the doctrine of a personally pre-existent 
Logos, nevertheless admit that it is at least by implication 
taught in the passage. The former author, indeed, seeks 
to deprive the statements contained therein of all theo- 
logical value, by representing them as of an "ascetic" and 
" rhetorical " character; the expressions not being intended 
to be " didactically fixed," 1 — a convenient method of get- 
ting rid of unacceptable theological dogmas, which may be 
applied to any extent, and which, if applied to Paul's 
Epistles, would render it difficult to extract any theological 
inferences therefrom, inasmuch as nearly all the doctrinal 
statements they contain arise out of a practical occasion, 
and are intended to serve a hortatory purpose. Strauss, 
on the other hand, making no pretence of adhering to 
Scripture in his theological views, frankly acknowledges 
that, according to the doctrine of Paul in this place, Christ 
is One who, before His incarnation, lived in a divine glory, 
to which, after His freely assumed state of humiliation was 
over, He returned. 2 

It is now time that I should explain the sense in which 
I understand the passage referred to, which I shall do very 
briefly, relegating critical details to another place. 3 The 
subject spoken about is the historical person Jesus Christ, 
conceived of, however, as having previously existed before 
He entered into history, and as in His pre-existent state, 
supplying material fitted to serve the hortatory purpose the 

1 Glaubenslehre, ii. p. 161. Schleiermacher's admission is not hearty; for while 
the manner in which he explains away the apparent meaning of the passage implies 
such an admission as I have ascribed to him, he remarks that the way in which 
Paul here sets forth Christ as an example, is quite compatible with the idea that 
he has in view merely the appearance of lowliness in the life as well as in Um 
death. 

2 Die Christliche Glaubenslehre, i. 420. 
8 See Appendix, Note A. 



1 6 The Humiliation of Christ. 

apostle has in view. Paul desires to set before the Church 
in Philippi the mind of Christ in opposition to the mind of 
self-seekers, and he includes the pre-existence in his rep- 
resentation, because the mind he means to illustrate was 
active therein, and could not be exhibited in all its sub- 
limity if the view were restricted to the earthly career of 
the Great Exemplar of self-renunciation. It has been 
objected, that a reference to the pre-existence is beside 
the scope of the apostle, his aim being- to induce proud, 
self-asserting Christians to imitate Christ in all respects 
in which it was possible for them to become like Him, 
while in respect of the Incarnation He is inimitable. 1 The 
objection is a very superficial one. It is true that the act 
by which the Son of God became man is inimitable; but 
the mind which moved Him to perform that act is not 
inimitable; and it is the mind or moral disposition of Christ, 
revealed both in imitable and inimitable acts, which is the 
subject of commendation. Therefore, though the great 
drama of self-humiliation enacted by our Saviour on this 
earth be the main theme of Christian contemplation, yet 
is a glimpse into the mind of the pre-existent Son of God 
a fitting prelude to that drama, tending to make it in its 
whole course more impressive, and to heighten desire in 
the spectators to have the same mind dwelling in them- 
selves, leading them to perform on a humbler scale similar 
acts of self-denial. Another argument against the refer- 
ence to a pre-existent state has been drawn from the 
historical name given to the subject of the proposition, Jesus 
Christ. But this argument is sufficiently met by the re- 
mark, that the same method of naming the subject is 
employed by Paul in other passages where a pre-existence 

1 Gerhard's Loci Theologici, locus iv. cap. xiv. " De Statu exinanitionis et 
exaltalionis." Gerhard says: " Scopus apostoli est, quod velit Philippenses hortari 
ad humilitatem intuitu in Christi exeraplum facto. Ergo praesentis, non futuri 
temporis, exemplum illis exhibet. Proponit eis imitandum Christi exemplum tan- 
quam vitae regulam. Ergo considerat facta Christi quae in oculos incurrunt, in 
quorum numero non est incarnatio. In eo apostolus jubet Philippenses imitari 
Christum, in quo similes ipsi nondum erant, sed similes fieri poterant et debebant. 
Atqui erant illi jam ante veri homines, sed inflati ac superbi: Christum igitur eos 
imitari, et humilitati studere, jubet, incarnatiore vem n^ mo Filio Dei similis fieri 
potest" (§ cexciv.). 



Christological Axioms. 17 

of some sort, real or ideal, personal or impersonal, is un 
deniably implied. 1 

Of Him whose mind is commended as worthy of imita- 
tion, the apostle predicates two acts through which that 
mind was revealed: First, an act of self-emptying, in virtue 
of which He became man; then a continuous act or habit 
of self-humiliation on the part of the incarnate One, which 
culminated in the endurance of death on the cross. 'Eawdv 
inevGodev, — He emptied Himself, — that was the first great 
act by which the mind of the Son of God was revealed. 
Wherein did this hsvgoo'is consist ? what did it imply ? The 
apostle gives a twofold answer; one having reference to 
the pre-existent state, the other to the sphere of Christ's 
human history. With reference to the former, the kenosis 
signified a firm determination not to hold fast and selfishly 
cling to equality of state with God. Thus I understand 
the words ovh apitayuov rjyr/6a.To to eivai 16a. ©sc£. The ren- 
dering in our English version (" thought it not robbery to 
be equal with God"), which follows patristic (Latin) exe- 
getical tradition, is theologically true, but unsuited to the 
connection of thought, and to the grammatical construc- 
tion of the sentence. The apostle's purpose is not formally 
to teach that Christ was truly God, so that it was not ar- 
rogance on His part to claim equality of nature with God; 
but rather to teach that He being God did not make a 
point of retaining the advantages connected with the divine 
state of being. Hence he merely mentions Christ's divinity 
participially by way of preface in the first clause of the sen- 
tence (5s ev Mopcpy ©sou vTtdpx a > v > wno being, or subsisting, 
in the form of God), and then hastens on to speak of the 
mind that animated Him who was in the form of God, as a 
mind so different from that of those who esteem and desire 
to exalt themselves above others, that He was willing to 
part with equality in condition with God. This part of the 
sentence, beginning with ovh dpnay jiiov, cannot, as Alford 
justly remarks, "be a mere secondary one, conveying an 

1 1 Cor. x. 4-9; Col. i. 14, 15. The use of the historical name in reference tc 
the pre-existent Logos in these and other passages is admitted by Beyschlag (DU 
Ckristologie des neuen Testaments, p. 240), who does not admit a personal, but 
only an ideal pre-existence of the Logos. 



1 8 The Humiliation of Christ. 

additional detail of Christ's majesty in His pre-existent 
state, but must carry the whole weight of the negation of 
selfishness on His part;" 1 unless we can suppose the writer 
guilty of an irrelevancy tending to weaken the force of his 
appeal by introducing one idea when another is naturally 
expected. But further, the grammatical construction pre- 
cludes such a rendering of this clause as is given in the 
English version. In the text, the idea expressed by dpnay- 
\})6azo, etc., is opposed to the idea expressed by the 
words Eavrov lxevoo6ev, the connecting particle being dXXd 
(but), so that in the former clause is stated negatively what 
in the latter is stated positively. He did not practise 
dpitayuov with reference to equality with God; but, on the 
contrary, emptied Himself. The patristic rendering, re- 
tained in the English version, requires the connecting par- 
ticle to be a word signifying "nevertheless;" not dXXd, 
but a word equivalent to the Attic phrase ov uqv dXXd. * 
Beyond all doubt, therefore, whatever r6 eivai i'da 0ec3 may 
mean, it points to something which both the connection of 
thought and the grammatical structure of the sentence 
require us to regard the Son of God as willing to give up. 
Looking now at the connection between the prefatory 
participial clause and the one we have just been consider- 
ing, we must regard " to be equal with God " as exegetical 
of "being in the form of God." Those interpreters who 
take the whole passage as having exclusive reference to 
the earthly history of Christ, distinguish the two; regard- 
ing the form of God as something possessed by Christ even 
in the state of humiliation, and equality with God as a thing 
to be attained in the state of exaltation, a privilege for 
which the Lowly One was content patiently to wait, ab- 
staining from prematurely clutching at it, by making an 
unseasonable parade of His divine dignity. But the subor- 
dinate position assigned to the phrase r6 sivai i'6a QecS in the 

1 Alford in loco. 

* This is frankly acknowledged by Zanchius: "ilia vox dXXd," he says, "ad 
versativa cum sit particula, et in praecedenti versu non ita liquido apparet cuinarn 
verbo adversetur, reddit constructionem utcunque difficilem. Syriac. faciliorem 
facit cum habeat ella, id est nihilocninus." — De filii Dei Incarnatiotie, lib. L 
cap. ii. 7. 



Christological Axio7ns. iq 

clause to which it belongs, it being placed at the end, while 
ovx dpnayixov ?)y?')6aro stands in the forefront to catch the 
reader's eye, as the principal matter, shows that it simply 
repeats the idea already expressed by the words kv uopcp^ 
Osov vitdpx CsDV - 

The two phrases being equivalent, it follows that no 
meaning can be assigned to either which would involve an 
inadmissible sense for the other. By this rule we are pre- 
cluded from understanding by the form of God the divine 
essence or nature; for such an interpretation would oblige 
us to find in the second clause the idea that the Son of God 
in a spirit of self-renunciation parted with His divinity. 
We must decline here to follow in the footsteps of the Fa- 
thers, who, with the exception of Hilary, 1 invariably took 
form as synonymous with nature; possibly misled by a too 
absorbing desire to find in the passage a clear undeniable 
assertion of our Lord's proper divinity, — a desire which could 
have been gratified without having recourse to misinterpre- 
tation; inasmuch as the implied assertion of that truth which 
the words of the apostle, rightly interpreted, really do con- 
tain, is even more forcible than a formal didactic statement 
would have been. Mopcp?j does not mean the same thing as 
ovdia or <pv6is. Even the old Reformed theologian Zan- 
chius, while following the patristic tradition in the inter- 
pretation of the word, acknowledges the distinguishableness 
of the terms, and quotes with approbation a passage from 
a contemporary, Danaeus, in which they are very clearly 
distinguished, ovdia being defined as denoting the naked 
essence, cpvdiz as the ovdia clothed with its essential prop- 
erties, and nopcprj as adding to the essential and natural 
properties of the essence, other accidents which follow the 
true nature of a thing, and by which, as features and colours, 
ovdia and <pv6\% are shaped and depicted. 2 Thus understood, 
uopcpr) presupposes ovdia and <pvdis, and yet is separable 

1 Hilary varied in his interpretation, sometimes identifying, sometimes distin- 
guishing, /.topcpr/ and cpvdiS. See Appendix, Note A. 

2 Zanchius, De filii Incarnatione, lib. i. cap. xi. : "Ovdia proprie significat 
nudam essentiam . . . <pvdiS ipsi essentiae addit proprietates essentiales et natu- 
rales: juopq>t} addit essentiae et proprietatibus essentialibus et naturalibus alia etiam 
accidentia quae veram rei naturam sequuntur, et quibus, quasi lineamentis et col- 
oribus ovdia et <pvdtS conformantur atque depinguntur." 



20 The Humiliation of Christ. 

from them; it cannot exist without them, but they c*j, wX- 
ist without it. The Son of God, subsisting in the form of 
I, must have possessed divine ov6ia and divine <pv6t%\ but 
it is conceivable that, retaining the ov6ia and the <pv6i$, 
He might part with the uopq^. And in point of fact such 
a parting for a season with the nop<pfi seems clearly taught 
in this place. The apostle conceives of the Incarnation as 
an exchange of divine form for the human form of exist- 
ence. In what the thing parted with precisely consists, 
and what the dogmatic import of the exchange may be, 
are points open to debate. As to the former, we must be 
content, meantime, with the general statement that the 
thing renounced was not divine essence, or anything be- 
longing essentially to the divine nature. The Logos re- 
mained what He was in these respects when He became 
what lie was not; equal to God in nature (l'6o? GecS), while 
ceasing for a season to be His equal in state {loa Seti). As 
to the latter, the exchange of forms may, as Martensen 
and others hold, be compatible with the theory of a double 
lift; not an absolute exchange, but one relative to the incar- 
nate life of the Logos. All that can be confidently affirmed 
is that the apostle does conceive the Incarnation under the 
aspect of an exchange of a divine form for a human form 
of being; so that, as expositors, we are not entitled to 
interpret the words, "being in the form of God," as mean- 
ing " continuing to subsist in divine form." 

The kenosis, being first represented negatively, with ref- 
erence to the pre-existent state, as a free determination not 
to hold fast equality with God, is next represented posi- 
tively, with reference to the historical existence, as consist- 
ing in the assumption of the form of a servant, and in being 
made in the likeness of man. Mopcpr/v SovXov Xa/ioov, kv 6/iot- 
aouari arBpaSicooY yerouevoi (" taking the form of a servant, 
being made in the likeness of men"). The ethical quality 
of Christ's human life is described in the former of these 
two clauses; the fact of His becoming man is referred to 
in the latter. The first clause declares the end of the In- 
carnation, the second sets forth the Incarnation itself as 
the means to that end. The Son of God took human na- 
ture that He might, as a man, live in the form of a servant 



Christological Axioms. 21 

The servant-form is thus not to be identified with the human 
nature, any more than the form of God is to be identified 
with the divine nature. The human nature was simply the 
condition under which it was possible to bear the form of 
a servant, even as the divine nature is the presupposition 
of existence in the form of God. The order in which the 
two clauses are arranged is rhetorical rather than logical. 
That is placed first which is of most importance to the 
writer's purpose, as the eulogist of the mind which was in 
Christ; the mere fact of the Incarnation is spoken of subor- 
dinate^, and in the second place, simply to explain in what 
circumstances Christ took the form of a servant, viz. in 
human nature. In this connection it is not unworthy of 
remark that the participle in the first clause is active, while 
that in the second clause is passive. Christ was made 
man, but He took servile form. His end in becoming man 
was that He might be able to wear that form of existence 
which is at the greatest possible distance from, and presents 
the greatest possible contrast to, the form of God. He 
desired to live a human life, of which servitude should be 
the characteristic feature, — servitude in every conceivable 
sense, and in the extreme degree; so that the whole of His 
history might be summed up in His own words to His dis- 
ciples: "I am among you as one who serveth." Such was 
Christ's mind in resolving to enter into this time world, as 
conceived of here by Paul. He would come to earth not to 
be ministered unto, but to minister. No view of our Lord's 
person and work can be satisfactory which does not do full 
justice to this great truth. 

Having described the first great act in which the mind 
of Christ revealed itself, — the kenosis, — the apostle next pro- 
ceeds to describe the second, the humiliation {ra.itzivo>)6i<C), in 
these terms: "And being found in fashion, or guise, as a 
man, He humbled Himself and became obedient as far as 
death, even the death of the cross." Here, again, what is 
emphasized is not the humanity of Christ, but the servile, 
suffering character of His life as a man. The humanity is 
described in terms which, if meant to be emphatic, might 
suggest a doketic view of the Incarnation — "being found 
in guise as a man, a man to look at, and in outward ap- 



22 The Humiliation of Christ. 

ince." But the apostle is bent, not on asserting dog- 
matically the reality of Christ's humanity, but on holding 
up to admiration the humility of the man Christ Jesus. 
Now actually become man, recognisable as a man by all 
His fellow-men, He humbled Himself. And how, accord- 
i the apostle, did Christ as man show His humility ? 
By persevering in, and carrying out, the purpose for which 
He became man. Having become man that He might be 
a servant, He, being now a man, gave Himself up to ser- 
vice; became obedient — carried obedience to its extreme 
limit, submitting even to death, and to death in its most 
degrading form; so, for divine glory renounced, receiving 
in exchange the deepest ignominy to which even a slave 
can be subjected. Why obedience was carried this length 
is not explained; the reason is assumed to be known. The 
point emphasized is, that Christ humbled Himself to this 
extent, and so realized His aim in becoming man, and 
persevered in the same mind to the very last. 

In view of the foregoing exposition, these inferences from 
the passage we have been considering seem warrantable: — 

i. The account given of the mind of the Subject spoken 
about, presupposes the existence previous to the Incarnation 
of a divine Personality capable of a free resolve to perform 
the sublime act of self-exinanition which issued in the 
Incarnation. 

2. This act of self-exinanition involved a change of state 
for the Divine Actor; an exchange, absolute or relative, 
of the form of God for the form of a servant. 

Notwithstanding this change, the personality contin- 
ued the same. Kenosis did not mean self-extinction, or 
metamorphosis of a Divine Being into a mere man. He 
who emptied Himself was the same with Him who humbled 
Himself; and the kenosis and the tapeinosis were two acts 
of the same mind dwelling in the same Subject. 

4. The humiliation (tapeinosis) being a perseverance in 
the mind which led to the kenosis, implies not only identity 
of the subject, but continuity of self-consciousness in that 
subject. The man Christ Je.->us knew that, being in the 
form of God, He had become man, was acquainted with 
the mind that animated Him before His Incarnation, and 



Christological Axioms. 23 

made it His business in the incarnate state to carry out 
that mind. 

5. Christ's life on earth was emphatically a life of service. 

6. Throughout the whole drama of self-exinanition, as 
indeed the very word implies, Christ was a free agent. He 
did not merely experience kenosis and tapeinosis, — He 
emptied Himself, He humbled Himself. The kenosis must 
be ethically conceived, not as bringing the subject once for 
all into a state of physical inability to assert equality with 
God, but as leaving room for a voluntary perseverance in 
the mind not to assert that equality, on the part of One 
who could do otherwise. This voluntariness, however, is 
not to be conceived of as excluding a reign of natural law 
in Christ's humanity; such being necessary to the reality 
of that humanity, and involved, indeed, in the very idea of 
a human nature. To imagine that Christ hungered, and 
thirsted, and slept, and felt weariness by a special act of 
will, — making possible by a miracle what would otherwise 
have been impossible, — is unmitigated doketism. This 
form of doketism, as I shall have occasion hereafter to 
point out, is not unknown in the history of doctrine. 

These inferences are all in harmony with the main scope 
of the passage, which is to eulogize the humility of Christ, 
The first gives to that humility unbounded scope to dis- 
play itself, by introducing the self-renouncing mind even 
within the sphere of divinity; the second makes self-exin- 
anition a reality even for God; the third secures that what- 
ever in the earthly experience of the man Christ Jesus 
involved humiliation, shall be predicable of a divine person; 
the fourth gives infinite moral value to every act of self- 
humiliation performed by Christ on earth, by making the 
actor conscious of the contrast between His past and 
present states, performing every lowly service as One who 
knew "that He was from God;" 1 the fifth exhibits the 
contrast between the pre-incarnate and the post-incarnate 
states in the strongest possible light; and the sixth, by 
representing Christ as, in the whole course of His humilia- 
tion, a free agent, not merely the passive subject of an 
involuntary experience, makes Him in all a proper ex- 

1 John xiii. 3. 



24 The Humiliation of Christ. 

ample of humility, as well as a fit subject of reward by 
exaltation. 

While full of instruction regarding the mind of the Di- 
vine Being known in this world's history by the name of 
Jesus Christ, the passage whose meaning we have now 
ascertained is vague apd general in its statements concern- 
ing the humanity assumed by that Being in a spirit of self- 
exinanition. It does not tell us how the humanity was 
assumed, nor does it teach any definite doctrine on the 
more general question: how far the assuming agent was 
like other men. That there was a genesis of some sort, 
and a likeness to some extent is all that is expressly 
indicated. The phrases in which the likeness is asserted 1 
have even a superficial look of doketism about them, which, 
while not without its value as an incidental proof that the 
subject spoken of is something more than man, at the same 
time seems to imply that He is also something less. It 
would be altogether unwarrantable, however, to found a 
serious charge of doketism on the manner in which the 
apostle expresses himself. 2 For, while it may not be im- 
possible to put a doketic construction on the letter of the 
passage, such a construction is utterly excluded by its 
spirit. The form of a servant ascribed to the incarnate 
One, implies likeness to men in their present condition in 
all possible respects; for how could one be in earnest with 
the servant's work whose humanity was in any sense do- 
ketic ? Then, from the mind in which the Incarnation 
took its origin, the complete likeness of Christ's humanity 
to ours may be inferred with great confidence. He who 
was not minded to retain His equality with God, was not 
likely to assume a humanity that was a make-believe or a 
sham. It would be His desire to be in all things " like 
unto His brethren." 3 

1 kv d/uoicouari dv r jpoj7roov yEv6f.if.vo'., 6xV! l(XTl svpsOei 1 ; &5? av- 
OpoonoS. 

■ As Baur has done in his Apostel Paulus, Zweite Theil, p. 50 ff. (Zweite 
Auflage). The Gnostic style of thought supposed to characterize the passage, ii. 
5-9, involved in the doctrine of the kenosis, and also in the doketic view of Christ's 
humanity, is Baur's chief argument against the genuineness of the Epistle to the 
Philippians. 

3 Van Mastricht finds even in the phrase xai 6x ? / uari £i)/>«9e/S coS av r Jpoo 
*o5a testimony to the reality of Chi says: '• X dat habitant, 



Christological Axioms. 25 

On these grounds the homousia 1 of Christ's humanity 
with ours may be regarded as a legitimate inference from 
the passage we have been considering. But that import- 
ant doctrine does not rest on mere inference; it is expressly 
taught in other places of Scripture, especially in the Epis- 
tle to the Hebrews, where it is proclaimed with great 
clearness and emphasis. The writer of that Epistle, like 
the writer of the Epistle to the Philippians, treats of the 
subject of Christ's humiliation, but from a different point 
of view. Paul exhibits that humiliation as something vol- 
untarily endured by Christ in a spirit of condescension and 
self-renunciation, which he exhorts his readers to admire and 
imitate. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, on the 
other hand, regards the same humiliation as an experience 
to which Christ was subjected, and which, as apparently 
incongruous to His intrinsic dignity, demands explanation. 
The point of view is adapted by the writer to the spiritual 
condition of his readers. The Hebrew Christians to whom 
he writes can see in the earthly experience of Jesus nothing 
glorious or admirable, but only a dark, perplexing puzzle, 
a stumbling-block to faith, which makes it hard to believe 
that Jesus can be the Christ. Hence, for one who would 
establish them in the faith and keep them from apostasy, 
it becomes an imperative task to endeavour to set the 
earthly history of the object of faith in such a light that it 
c hould not only cease to be a stumbling-block, but even 
b converted into a source of strength and comfort. To 
this task the writer accordingly addresses himself with great 
boldness, skill, and eloquence. Disdaining the expedient 
for making the task easy of lowering the essential dignity 
of Christ, he commences his Epistle by setting forth that 
dignity in terms which, for fulness, clearness, and intensity, 

gestum, speciem omneque externum, quod incurrit in sensus a quo quid agnoscitur, 
quo veritatem humanae suae naturae passim Christus demonstravit (Luc. xxiv. 39; 
John xx. 27). Non est idem (<?£?//*«) cum jiopcp^j djuoiajjuazi, non inanis figura 
et species corporis, quasi Christus non esset verus homo, sed talis habitus qui de 
monstrat rei veritatem sicut rvpavvov 6xrjua. ex £ ' l - v a pud Sophoclem, est se 
tyrannum praestare, demonstrare. Hinc svpeSeiS dicitur, inventus, compertus, 
certissimis argumentis est, <aS avf/fiooTto?, sicut homo, scil. verus, vulgaris, ut 
goS hie sit affirmants, seu veritatis nota, non similitudinis." — Theor. pract. Theo- 
logia, lib. v. cap. ix. pars exeget. ' Vid. p. 3, note 1. 



26 The Humiliation of Christ. 

are not surpassed by any to be found in Scripture. Then 
having declared Christ to be the Son of God, the bright- 
ness of God's glory and the express image of His person, 
the Lord of angels, the Maker of worlds, the everlasting 
King, he approaches the subject of His humilation, and 
sets himself to show how it can be reconciled with His 
inherent majesty. The proof is given in the second chap- 
ter of the Epistle from the fifth verse to the end, and pre- 
sents a train of reasoning characterized by profundity of 
thought, and by a rhetorical skill which knows how to 
make every thought bear upon the practical purpose in 
view, — that, viz., of strengthening weak faith and comfort- 
ing desponding hearts. This argument it is not necessary 
for our present object to expound elaborately; it will 
suffice to indicate the leading idea. The grand thought, 
then, in this remarkable passage is this, that Christ to be 
a Saviour must be a Brotiicr, and that, as things actually 
stand, that means that He must be humbled, must pass 
through a curriculum of temptation and suffering as a man, 
in order that He may be in all respects like unto His brethren. 
This great principle of brotherhood is formally enunciated 
in the eleventh verse in these terms: " Both He that sancti- 
fieth and they who are (being) sanctified are all of one;" 
a proposition in the precise interpretation of which expos- 
itors are much divided, but whose general import plainly 
is, that the Sanctifier and those whom He is to sanctify, 
however different in character, stand in such a relation to 
one another, that the nearer they are in all other respects, 
the greater the power of the Sanctifier to perform His 
sanctifying work. Sanctifier and those to be sanctified 
must be all of one race, all one party, having one interest, 
one lot, a brotherhood to all intents and purposes; the 
Holy One descending first into the state of the unholy, that 
He may raise them in turn to His own proper level in 
privilege and in character. 1 Having enunciated this general 

1 In the interpretation of this important text I agree generally with Hofmann, 
whose views are to the following effect: The statement is to be understood as a 
general proposition, as is shown by the present tenses (dyidZoov , ayiaZousvoi), 
which express not a habitual activity on the part of the Saviour, but a thing dona 
once for all in Christ's history. Only as a general proposition could the statement 
serve the purpose for which it was intended. Were it merely a historical fact, it 



Christological Axioms. 27 

principle, as one which he hopes may commend itself 
as self-evident to the minds of his readers, the writer next 
proceeds to show that it is recognised, has its root, in Old 
Testament Scripture, and thereafter to supply some ex- 
amples of its practical application. With the former view 
he makes three quotations from the Psalms and the pro- 
phets, the first of which indicates that Messiah stands 
before God, not without, but within a community, and in 
it as a community of persons whom He regards as breth- 
ren, and to whom He has been drawn closer in fellow- 
feeling by suffering; the second, that in the performance 
of His work, Messiah stands in the same relation to God, 
that of faith and dependence, as those whose good He has at 
heart; and the third, that Messiah has associated with Him 
in His work fellow- workers, to whom He is knit by the close 
bond of human kinsmanship, even as God gave to Isaiah 
his own children to be joint-prophets with him, "for signs 
and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts." 1 These 
three quotations the writer follows up with three examples 
of the application of the principles which the quotations 
are intended to establish. The principle is applied, first, 
to the Incarnation; second, to the death of Christ; and 
thirdly, to His whole experience of suffering and temptation 
between the beginning and the end of His ministry. The 

would need to be shown why the fact was so; whereas the object is to show how 
the vocation of Christ as a Saviour, as a matter of course, required Him to assume 
a suffering nature like ours. The idea of dyid~Eiv involves that the Actor and 
those for whom He acts are all of one origin. Havre? is not superfluous, nor 
is it = ducpovEfiOi; but it signifies that the difference between Sanctifier and 
sanctified does not affect descent, in reference to which they are rather Ttdvrei 
kz kvoi. What follows I give in Hofmann's own words: " Freilich muss mar. 
nicht gleiche Herkunft aus Gott verstehen, von der es heissen mtisste dass sie von 
ihnen nicht minder, als von ihm gelte; nicht TtdvrEi sondern ducpozEpoi musste 
es heissen; dann aber auch nicht e\ evoS, da der Nachdruck darauf lage, dass der 
Eine Gott es ist, von dem er und von dem sie herkommen, sondern eh tov evoS " 
(that is, descent from God is not meant, otherwise it would have been said both, 
not all are of one, both they as well as He, and it would further have been said 
not of one, but of the One). "Mit TtdvvEZ hi kvoi ist nicht betont, von wannen 
sie sind, sondern dass sich die Aligemeinheit des gleichen Herkunft tlber den Ge- 
gensatz des dyidZoov und der dyiaZousvoi erstreckt." (The object is not to 
emphasize from whom or whence the parties take their origin, but to point out 
that the community of origin covers the contrast between 6 dyid^oov and oi 
dyiaZojitev 01.) — Schriftbezveis, ii. 52-3. 

1 So substantially Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, ii. 54. 



28 The Humiliation of Christ. 

principle upon which the work of salvation proceeds being, 
that Sanctifier and sanctified are all of one, it follows first, 
that inasmuch as the subjects of Christ's work are partakers 
of flesh and blood, He also must in like manner become 
partaker of the same (the likeness of the manner extending 
even to the being born, so that He might be one of the 
children); second, that inasmuch as the subjects of Christ's 
work are liable to death and to the fear of it, He also must 
die that He may deliver His brethren from their bondage; 
third, that inasmuch as the subjects of Christ's work are 
exposed through life to manifold trials and temptations, 
therefore He must pass through a very complete curriculum, 
of temptation, that He might be perfected in sympathy, and 
gain the confidence of His brethren as one who could not 
fail to be a merciful and trustworthy High Priest in things 
pertaining to God. 

The doctrine of the homousia, taking the term as signi- 
fying likeness both in nature and in experience, thus shines 
forth in full lustre in this magnificent paragraph of the 
Epistle. It is enunciated as an axiomatic truth; it is estab- 
lished by Scripture proof; it is illustrated by outstanding 
facts in Christ's history, His birth, His death, His expe- 
rience of temptation; it is re-asserted in the strongest terms 
it is possible to employ: " In all things it behoved Him to 
be made like unto His brethren." Nor does this exhaust 
the testimony to the doctrine contained in the Epistle. In- 
direct allusions to, and confirmations and enlargements of, 
the same truth are scattered over its pages like gems; the 
first hint occurring at the ninth verse of the second chapter, 
where the Lord of angels, and rightful object of angelic 
worship, is described as one made lower than the angels. 1 
Why? Because He is the appointed Restorer of Paradise 
and of all that man possessed there, and, in particular, of 
lordship over all; and man being now no longer lord, but 
rather a degraded slave, the second Adam must take Hi? 
place beside him, assuming the form and position of a ser- 
vant, that He may lift man out of his degradation, and 
restore to him his forfeited inheritance. An eloquent reit- 
eration of the doctrine occurs at the close of that part of 
0£* ftpaxv xt Ttap' dyyeXovS TiXazTooudvov. 



Christological Axioms. 29 

the Epistle which treats of the eternal Sabbatism, an- 
other element of the paradisaical bliss lost by the fall, 
whereof Jesus is the appointed Restorer. In this place the 
great High Priest of humanity, and the Joshua of the Lord's 
host, Himself now entered into the heavenly rest, is repre- 
sented as one who can be touched with a feeling of our 
infirmities, seeing He was tempted in all respects as we are, 
was once a weary wanderer like ourselves, — the statement 
being made only the more emphatic by the qualifying 
clause " without sin." " Tempted in all respects as we 
are," speaking deliberately, the sole difference being that 
He never yielded to temptation while in the wilderness, as 
we too often do. The chapter following contains a touch- 
ing allusion to a special point in the similitude of our Lord's 
experience to ours, which brings Him very close to human 
sympathies. It is in the place where Jesus is represented 
as offering up, in the days of His flesh, prayers and suppli- 
cations, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was 
able to save Him from death. 1 Even thus far did the like- 
ness extend. The Sanctifier shared with His brethren the 
fear of death, through which they are all their lifetime sub- 
ject to bondage. Once more, the comprehensive view 
given in this Epistle, of the work of Christ as the Author 
of salvation, suggests by implication an equally compre- 
hensive view of the likeness between Him and His brethren. 
The writer, in describing the work of redemption, keeps 
constantly before his mind the history of man in Paradise. 
He makes salvation consist in lordship of the world that is 
to be, in deliverance from the fear of death, in entrance 
into a rest often promised but yet remaining, an ideal 
unexhausted by all past partial realizations — the perfect 
Sabbatism of the people of God. These representations 
plainly point back to the dominion over the creatures con- 
ferred on man at his creation, and lost by sin; to the death 
which was the wages of sin, and which Satan brought on 
man by successfully tempting him to disobedience; and 
to God's rest after the work of creation was finished, in 
which unfallen man had part, and in which man restored is 
destined again to share. Salvation thus consists in the 

1 Heb. v. 7. 



30 The Humiliation of Christ. 

cancelling of all the effects of the fall, and in the restoration 
of all that man lost by his sin. But if this be the nature 
of salvation, what, on the principle that Sanctifier and 
sanctified are all of one, must the likeness of the Saviour 
to the sinful sons of Adam amount to? Evidently to 
subjection to tJie curse in its whole extent, as far as that is 
possible for one who is Himself without sin. 

The view thus presented of our Lord's state of humilia- 
tion is admirably fitted to serve the purpose which the 
writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews had in mind (that of 
fortifying his readers against temptations to apostasy, 
whether arising out of the internal difficulties of the Chris- 
tian faith, or out of eternal affliction suffered on account of 
the faith), giving as it does to our Lord's whole earthly 
experience a winsome aspect of sympathy with humanity 
in its present sorrowful condition. But we have not yet 
exhausted what the author of this Epistle has to say by 
way of reconciling the Hebrew Christians to what had 
hitherto been an offence unto them. He is not content 
with apologising for Christ's humiliation; he boldly repre- 
sents that experience as in another aspect a glorification of 
its subject. He speaks of Jesus as crowned with glory and 
honour; not because He has tasted death for men, but in 
order that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for 
men. 1 It has been customary, indeed, to regard this pas- 
sage as referring to the state of exaltation, in which Christ 
receives the reward of His voluntary endurance of the 
indignities connected with the state of humiliation; but I 
agree with Hofmann 2 in thinking that the reference is rather 
to an honour and glory which is not subsequent to, but 
contemporaneous with, the state of humiliation, — the bright 
side, in fact, of one and the same experience. It is the 
honour and glory of being appointed to the high office of 
Apostle and High Priest of the Christian profession, the 
Moses and the Aaron of the new dispensation. That office 

Heb. ii. 9. 
* Schtiftbrajeis, ii. 46 fif., Zweite Auflage. Hofmann's exposition of the whole 
chapter is extremely good, and seems to me to bring out the connection of thought 
better on the whole than anything I have seen. His discussions on the Epistle tc 
the Hebrews, generally, are most instructive, though not free from characteristic 
eccentricities. 



Christological Axioms. 31 

doubtless involves humiliation, inasmuch as it imposes on 
Him who holds it the necessity of tasting death; but even 
in that respect His experience is not exclusively humiliate 
ing. For while it is a humiliation to die, it is glorious to 
taste death for others; and by dying, to abolish death, and 
bring life and immortality to light. To be appointed to an 
office which has such a purpose in view, is ipso facto to be 
crowned with glory and honour, and is a mark of signal 
grace or favour on the part of God. And this is precisely 
what the writer of the Epistle would have his readers un- 
derstand. He would not have them see in the earthly 
career of Jesus mere humiliation, — degradation difficult to 
reconcile with His Messianic dignity; but rather the rough, 
yet not degrading experience, incidental to a high, honour- 
able, holy vocation. "We see," he says in effect, "two 
things in Him by whom the prophecy in the eighth Psalm 
is destined to be fulfilled in the restoration of man to lord- 
ship in the world to come. On the one hand, we see Him 
made lower than angels by becoming partaker of mortal 
flesh and blood; a lowering made necessary by the fact that 
it was men, not angels, whose case He was undertaking, — 
men subject to the experience of death, whom, therefore, 
on account of that experience, He could help only by 
assuming a humanity capable of undergoing the same 
experience. 1 On the other hand, we see in this same Jesus, 
humbled by being made a mortal man, one crowned with glory 
and honour in being appointed to the office of Restorer of 
Paradise and all its privileges, including lordship over all; 
an office, indeed, whose end cannot be reached without the 
endurance of death, but whose end is at the same time so 
glorious that it confers dignity upon the means; so that it 
may be said in sober truth that the divine Father mani- 
fested signal grace towards His Son in giving Him the 
opportunity of tasting death for others; that is to say, 

1 With Hofmann, I connect did to TtdBrjua rov Savdrov (ver. 9) with the 
foregoing clause, and understand it as referring not specially to Christ's own suf- 
ferings, but generally to the experience of death, to which man is subject. It 
points out that in man's condition, on account of which Christ had to be made 
lower than angels, so far as this implied becoming man. Those whose case Christ 
undertook were men subject to death, therefore He too must become man that it 
might be possible for Him to die. 



32 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of abolishing death as a curse, and making it quite another 
thing for them, by enduring it in His own person." 

That such is the import of this notable text I have little 
doubt, although I am constrained to admit that the mean- 
ing now taken out of it has comparatively little support in 
the history of interpretation. Most commentators explain 
the passage as if, with the Hebrew Christians, they thought 
the humiliation of Christ stood very much in need of apology. 
Disregarding the grammatical construction, the scope of 
the argument, and the hint given in the expression " we 
see," which indicates that what is spoken of is something 
falling within the sphere of visible reality, they almost with 
one consent relegate the glory and honour to the state of 
exaltation, as if the mention of such things in connection 
with the state of humiliation were out of the question, and 
altogether unwarranted by Scripture usage; although the 
Apostle Peter speaks of Jesus as having received from God 
the Father " honour and glory" when there came such a 
voice to Him from the Excellent Glory: " This is my be- 
loved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" 1 and although 
further, in this very Epistle, it is said of Jesus, as the Apostle 
of our profession, that He was counted worthy of more 
" glory " than Moses, 2 and, as the High Priest of our pro- 
fession, that even as no man took upon himself the honour 
of the Jewish high-priesthood, " so also Christ glorified not 
Himself to be made an high priest, but He that said unto 
Him: ' Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten Thee.' " 3 
And as to taking the " grace of God " spoken of in the last 
clause of the sentence as manifested directly, not to those 
for whom Jesus died, but to Jesus Himself privileged to 
die for them, it is an interpretation which, though yielding 
a thought true in itself and relevant to the purpose in hand, 
does not seem even to have occurred to the minds of most 
expositors. This is all the more surprising, that thepoint- 
lessness of the expression in question, as ordinarily inter- 
preted, has not escaped notice. Ebrard, for example, feels 
it so strongly that he falls back on the ancient reading 
xoopii 9eov, adopted by Origen and the Xestorians, and used 
by the former as an argument in favour of his theory of uni- 
2 Pet. i. 17. 2 Heb. Mi. 3. 3 Heb. v. 4, 5. 



Christological Axioms. 33 

versal restitution, 1 and by the latter as a proof text in 
support of their doctrine of a double personality in the one 
Christ. " The reading ^a'pzrz/' : Ebrard remarks, "is cer- 
tainly clear as water, extremely easy to understand, but 
also extremely empty of thought, and unsuitable;" herein 
echoing the tone as well as the thought of Theodore of 
Mopsuestia, who calls it ridiculous to substitute xa/wri Qeov 
instead of ^<apz; Qeov, and represents those who do so as 
adopting a reading which appears to them easy of compre- 
hension, because they fail to see the sense of the true, more 
difficult reading; that sense being, in his view, that the man 
Jesus tasted death apart from God the Logos, to whom in 
life He had been joined, it being unseemly that the Logos 
should have any personal connection with death, though it 
was not unseemly that He should make the man Jesus, as 
the Captain of Salvation, perfect through suffering. 3 It is 
not surprising that the Master of the East should have 
preferred a reading which seemed to favour his peculiar 
Christological theory; but it does seem strange that a 
modern theologian, holding very different views on Chris- 
tology, should feel himself forced to fall back on that read- 

1 Comment, in Joann. torn. i. c. 40: "tieya- i6riv dpxiEpEv^, ovx vxsp 
avSpooncov uovov , aXXd xai TtavToS Xoyixov rr/v dnaz *iv6iav -xpo6- 
EVExbsiGccv kocvrov dvsvsyxojv. XoopiS yap Qeov vitep rtavToi 
syevdaro SavaTov, oxsp iv ri6i xElrai rrji npo? 'E/lpaiov? avri- 
ypdpoi?, xdpivi Qeov. Eite Ss x°°P^ Qeov vTtsp itavxol kyEv6a.ro 
havdrov, ov uovov vixip avSpoortajv dixihavEv , dXXd xai vixip r<2v 
Xoiitgov XoyiKGDV." Origen includes within the scope of the navxoS all exist- 
ing beings except God, viewed as tainted with man's sin. "Kai yap," he says, 
'■'•axoitov vitip avS pooit iv gov jjev avzov <pd6x£iv duaprr/judToov ys- 
yevdBai Saratov, ovx sxi Si vitip aXXov rivol itapd rov dv^pooitov 
iv duapxijuaSi ysyevijfievov oiov vitip ddxpcov, ov Si tgjv a6rpcjv 
navxooi xahapcSv ovxoov evgoitiov rov Qeov." 

- Der Brief an die Hebraer erkldrt, p. 90. 

3 Theo. Mops, in Epistolam Pauli ad Hebraeos comment arii Fragment a, Migne, 
Patrologiae cursus, torn. lxvi. p. 955. Theodore's words are: " rsXoioxarov 
Sri xi Ttd6xov6i ivrav'ja, to jcap/'? Qeov svaXXdrovTE? xai iroiovvrs? 
XoipxTt Qeov ov ixpo6ixovxsi xtj dxoXovhia xiji rpacpri^, dXX' and rov 
U?} dvviivai oxinori icprj to X&P^ Qeov ddiaq>6poJi EcaXsicpovxsS uiv 
exeivo, ti^evteZ Si to Soxovv avzoli evxoXov Eivai itpoS xaxavo- 
?j6iv." He goes on to say that it was not Paul's custom, xdpixi Qeov xiSivai 
dirX&Ji — using the expression as a pious commonplace — aXXd 7tdvxoJi and 
two'. axoXov^iai Xoyov; which is quite true of Paul and of all the New 
Testament writers, and favours the interpretation given above. 



34 The Humiliation of Christ. 

ing, from sheer inability to assign a suitable and worthy 
sense to the reading in the received text, while such an in- 
terpretation as I have ventured to suggest was open to 
him. Is it, then, really an inadmissible thought, that God 
showed favour to Christ in appointing Him to taste death 
for every man ? is it out of keeping with the general strain 
of this Epistle ? does it not fit in naturally to what goes 
before and to what comes after ? Was it not worth while 
to point out to persons scandalized by the humiliation of 
Christ, that what to vulgar view might seem a mark of 
divine disfavour, was, in truth, a signal proof of divine 
grace; that even in appointing the Son of man to go 
through a curriculum of suffering, God had been mindful of 
Him, and had graciously visited Him, opening up to Him 
the high career of Captain of Salvation ? And how are we 
to understand the assertion following, that it became Him 
who is the first cause and last end of all to perfect the 
Captain of Salvation by suffering, if not as a defence of the 
bold idea, contained, as it appears to me, in the preceding 
verse ? The import of that assertion is simply this: The 
means and the end of salvation are both worthy of the 
Supreme, by whom and for whom all events in time happen; 
the end manifestly and admittedly — for who will question 
that it is worthy of God to lead many sons to glory ? — the 
means not less than the end, though at first they may 
appear to compromise the dignity both of the Supreme 
Cause and of His commissioned Agent. It was honourable 
for the Captain of Salvation to taste of death in the prose- 
cution of His great work; it was an honour conferred upon 
Him by God the Father to be appointed to die for such a 
purpose. 

This, then, is another truth, besides the homoiisia of 
Christ's humanity with ours, which we learn from the 
Epistle to the Hebrews: that Christ's Jiumiliation is at the 
same time in an important sense His glorification; that it is 
not merely followed by a state of exaltation, according to the 
doctrine of Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians, but car- 
ries a moral compensation within itself; so that we need 
not hesitate to emphasize the humiliation, inasmuch as the 
more real and thorough it is, the greater the glory and 



Christological Axioms. 3S 

honour accruing to the humbled One. The glory is that 
of one " full of grace and truth," manifested not in spite of, 
but through His humiliation made visible by the Incarna- 
tion and the human life of the Son of God, as the Apostle 
John testifies when he says in the beginning of his Gospel: 
" The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we 
beheld His glory." The evangelist explains, indeed, that 
the glory of which he speaks is the glory as of the Only- 
begotten of the Father; but he does not mean by that the 
glory of metaphysical majesty visible through the veil of 
the flesh in consequence of its doketic transparency. He 
means the glory of divine love which the Only-begotten, 
who was in the bosom of the Father, came forth to reveal, 
and of which His state of humiliation on earth was the 
historical exegesis. It has, indeed, been confidently as- 
serted by certain writers that John knows nothing of a 
state of humiliation, — that the Incarnation of the Word is 
for Him not an abasement, but a new means of revealing 
His glory, the representation of Christ's death in his Gospel 
as an exaltation or a glorification being adduced as con- 
clusive proof of the fact; and Protestant scholastic theo- 
logians have been severely blamed for overlooking or 
ignoring the undeniable truth. It is a characteristic illus- 
tration of the haste and one-sidedness of modern criticism. 1 
As if the two ideas of glorification and humiliation were 
absolutely incompatible; as if John, the apostle of love, 
was not a very likely person to comprehend their compati- 
bility; as if the things alleged in proof of his ignorance of a 
state of humiliation did not rather prove his complete 
mastery of the truth now insisted on, viz. that the humilia- 
tions of Christ were on the moral side glorifications ! The 
glory of which John speaks is that of divine grace revealed 
in word, deed, and suffering, to the eye of faith. This 
glory the Only-begotten won by renouncing the compara- 
tively barren glory of metaphysical majesty. Thus, in be- 
coming poor, He at the same time enriched Himself. In 
the words of Martensen, " Because only in the state of 
humiliation could He fully reveal the depths of divine love, 
and because it was by this His poverty that He made all 

1 Vide Reuss, Theologie Chre'tienne, ii. 455. 



36 The Humiliation of Christ. 

rich, it may be said that as the Son of man He first took 
full possession of His divine glory; for then only is love in 
full possession when it can fully communicate itself, and 
only then does it reveal its omnipotence, when it conquers 
hearts, and has the strong for a prey." 1 

The foregoing discussion of the passages in the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, bearing on the subject of the humiliation of 
Christ, thus yields us the following additions to the list of 
elementary truths: — 

7. The service Christ came to render, His vocation as the 
Captain of Salvation, or the Sanctifier, was such as to in- 
volve likeness to men in all possible respects, both in nature 
and in experience; a likeness in nature as complete as if 
He were merely a human personality; a likeness in ex- 
perience of temptation, and, in general, of subjection to the 
curse resting on man on account of sin, limited only by 
His personal sinlessness. 

8. Christ's whole state of exinanition was not only worthy 
to be rewarded by a subsequent state of exaltation, bu,t 
was in itself invested with moral sublimity and- dignity; so 
that, having in view the honour of the Saviour, we have no 
interest in minimizing His experience of humiliation, but, 
on the contrary, are concerned to vindicate for that ex- 
perience the utmost possible fulness, recognising no limit 
to the descent except that arising out of His sinlessness. 

And now, having furnished ourselves with this series of 
axioms, our next business must be to use them as helps in 
forming a critical estimate of conflicting Christological and 
Soteriological theories. But before entering on this, the 
main part of our undertaking, it will be expedient here to 
indicate the plan on which our subsequent discussions 
will be conducted. It will not be necessary, for the 
purpose I have in view in these lectures, that I should 
treat with scholastic accuracy of the different stages 
or stations in the status exinanitionis. I do not know 
that for any purpose such a mode of treatment would 
be of much service. I question, indeed, whether exactitude 
in handling this theme be practicable; at all events, it is 
certain that anything approaching to exactitude is not to 

1 Die Christliche Dogmatik, p. 246. 



Christological Axioms. 37 

be found in dogmatic systems. In the works of the lead- 
ing dogmaticians the stages of our Lord's humiliation are 
very variously enumerated, though, of course, certain feat- 
ures are common to all the schemes. Occasionally con- 
fusion of thought is discernible, — acts being confounded 
with states, and generals treated as particulars. The In- 
carnation, e.g., is sometimes reckoned to the state of ex- 
inanition, whereas it is in truth the efficient cause of the 
whole state, the original act of gracious condescension 
whereof the state of humiliation is the historical evolution 
and result. An instance of the other sort of confusion, 
that of turning a general into a particular, may perhaps be 
found in the answer given in the Shorter Catechism to the 
question referring to Christ's humiliation, where the " wrath 
of God" comes in, apparently as a particular experience, 
like "the cursed death of the cross" mentioned immedi- 
ately after; while the expression, though peculiarly appli- 
cable to particular experiences, really admits of being 
applied to the whole state of humiliation as a designation 
thereof from a certain point of view, as in fact it is applied 
in the Heidelberg Catechism. 1 

Instead, therefore, of attempting an exact enumeration 
of the stations, I propose to consider the whole state of 
humiliation under these three leading aspects: the physical, 
the ethical, and the soteriological. 

Under the first of these aspects we shall have to consider 
the bearing of the category of humiliation on Christ's 
person. The Son of God became man, the Word was made 
flesh, the Eternally-begotten was born in time of the Vir- 
gin; what is the dogmatic significance of these facts in 
reference to the person of the Incarnate One ? 

Under the second aspect, the ethical, we shall have an 
opportunity of contemplating the incarnate Son of God as 
the subject of a human experience involving moral trial, 
and supplying a stimulus to moral development. Christ 
was tempted in all points like as we are, and He was per- 
fected by suffering; in what sense, and to what extent, can 

1 Quaestio 37 '. Quid credis, cum dicis, passus est? Eum todo quidem vitae 
suae tempore quo in terra egit, praecipue vero in ejus extremo, iram Dei adversus 
peccatum universi generis humani, corpore et anima sustinuisse. 



d 



8 The Humiliation of Christ. 



temptation and perfecting be predicated of One who was 
without sin ? 

Under the third aspect we shall have to consider Christ 
as a servant, under law, and having a task appointed 
Him, involving humiliating experiences various in kind 
and degree. 

To the physical aspect four lectures will be devoted. One 
will treat of the ancient Christology, the formula of Chal- 
cedon being taken as the view-point for our historical sur- 
vey; a second, of the Christologies of the old Lutheran and 
Reformed Confessions; a third, of the modern kenotic 
theories of Christ's person; a fourth, of modern humanistic 
views of Christ's person, which practically evacuate the 
idea of the Humiliation of all significance by regarding the 
Subject thereof merely as a man, whether as the Perfect 
Ideal Man, or, as in the case of the naturalistic school of 
theologians, not even so much as that. 1 The other two 
aspects of our Lord's humiliation will occupy each a sin- 
gle lecture. 

1 This lecture was not delivered, and appears in this edition for the first time. 



LECTURE II. 

THE PATRISTIC CHRISTOLOGY. 

The Christology of the ancient Church took final shape at 
the Council of Chalcedon, A. D. 451, in the following for- 
mula: — " Following the holy Fathers, we all with one 
consent teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Deity, and the same per- 
fect in humanity, truly God, and the same truly man, of 
reasonable soul and body, of the same substance with the 
Father as to His divinity, of the same substance with us 
as to His humanity; in all things like to us, except sin; 
before the ages begotten of the Father as to His Deity, 
but in the latter days for us, and for our redemption, begot- 
ten (the same) of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, as 
to His humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only- 
begotten, manifested in two natures, without confusion, 
without conversion, indivisibly, inseparably. The distinc- 
tion of natures being by no means abolished by the union, 
but rather the property of each preserved and combined 
into one person and one hypostasis; not one severed or 
divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and 
Only-begotten, viz. God, Logos, and the Lord Jesus 
Christ." 1 

1 "Eva xai zov avzov ojiioAcyelv viov zov xvpiov rj/udov 'Irjdovv 
Xpi6zov 6vuq>K>vo3i ditdvz£% hx8i8a6xoiiEV, zsXsiov, zov avzov hv 
Beoztjzi, xai zsXelov, zov avzov hv dvBpwnozrjzi- o/uoovdiov zc3 
Ttazpi xazd zr/v Bsozrjza, xai 6/lcoov6iov zov avzov t/jluv xazd zijv 
dvbpwnozrfza, xazd itdvza o/ioiov t//.iIv xoopii djiiapziaS . . . ex Ma~ 
pia? zrji itapBivov, zrji Beozohov . . . eva xai zov avzov Xpi6z6v, 
hx dvajv a>v6Eoov (a/, hv 8vo q>v6s6iv) a6vyxvzooz i dzpi.nzooz y aStat- 



4.C The Humiliation of Christ. 

This famous creed, formulated by the Fourth General 
Council, was the fruit of two great controversies, the Apol- 
linarian and the Nestorian; the one having reference to the 
integrity of our Lord's humanity, the other to the unity of 
erson. In these two controversies allparties may be 
said to have been animated by an orthodox interest, and 
to have been sincerely desirous to hold fast and establish 
the Catholic faith. All accepted cordially the Nicaean 
Creed, and sought to construct a Christology on a Trin- 
in foundation. These remarks apply even to Apolli- 
naris, who, however much he may have failed in his at- 
tempt at a construction of Christ's person, seems to have 
meant that attempt to be a defence of the Christian doctrine 
of the Incarnation against its assailants. He was a man 
held in high esteem by his contemporaries for his learning, 
piety, and eminent services to the cause of truth, till in his 
old age he promulgated his peculiar Christological theory. 
Epiphanius speaks of him as one who had always been 
beloved by himself, Athanasius, and all the orthodox; so 
that when he first got tidings of the new heresy, he could 
hardly believe that such a doctrine could emanate from 
such a man. 1 He had done excellent service as champion 
of the Nicaean symbol against the Arians, and had given 
a still more conclusive proof of his zeal in that cause by 
suffering exile on account of his opposition to the Arian 
heresy. 2 

The theory of Christ's person propounded by Apollinaris 
was this, that the humanity of Christ did not consist of a 
reasonable soul and body, as in other men, but of flesh and 
an animal soul without mind, the place of mind being 
supplied in His case by the Logos. Of the inner genesis 
of this theory in its author's mind we have no accounts, 
and we can only conjecture what were its hidden roots. 
Among these may probably be reckoned familiarity with, 

pezooi ax^opiOrooi yvaopi^ojjsyov ovSauou zf>'. rdv <pvtiEoov SiacpopaS 
dYrfpTfuiviji did zi)v 'ivw6iv, 6oo^o/.tev^i 8e /.iScWov zif? idiozrjzoi kxa- 
zepaS qjv6ea>i, xai el* f'v Ttp66oonov xai uiav v%66za6iv 6vvzpexov- 
6i)i, ovx sii Svo Ttpo6oo7ca fiepiCouEvov r/ SiaipnviiEvov, dXX' iva xai 
zov avzov viov, xai novoyivrj (-Jeov Xoyov Kvptov'lt}6ovv Xpidrov 

1 Adv. Haereses, lib. iii. torn, ii.; Dimoeritat, c. 2, see also c. 24. 

* Adv. Haereses, lib. iii. torn, ii.: Dimoeritae, c. 24. 



The Patristic Christology. 41 

and partiality for, classic Greek literature, and more espe- 
cially the works of Plato; 1 antagonism on other matters to 
Origen, the first among the early Fathers to give prom- 
inence to the doctrine that Christ's humanity was endowed 
with a rational soul, predisposing to a diverse way of think- 
ing on that particular subject likewise; and above all, de- 
termined hostility to the opinions concerning the person of 
the Saviour, characteristic of the Arian heretics. So far as 
one can judge from contemporary representations, and from 
the fragments of the work on the Incarnation which have 
been preserved, the Apollinarian theory was attractive to 
the mind of its inventor chiefly on these accounts: as en- 
abling him to combat successfully the Arian doctrine of the 
fallibility of Christ; as ensuring the unity of the person of 
Christ, with which the doctrine of the integrity of His hu- 
manity seemed incompatible; and as making the Incarna- 
tion a great reality for God, involving subjection of the di- 
vine nature to the experience of suffering. As to the first, 
the Arian doctrine of the person of Christ was, that in the 
historical person called Christ appeared in human flesh the 
very exalted, in a sense divine, creature named in Scripture 
the Logos, — the Logos taking the place of a human soul, 
and being liable to human infirmity, and even to sin, inas- 
much as, however exalted, He was still a creature, therefore 
finite, therefore fallible, rpejrrJ?, capable of turning, in the 
abuse of freedom, from good to evil. Apollinaris accepted 
the Arian method of constructing the person, by the ex- 
clusion of a rational human soul, and used it as a means of 
obviating the Arian conclusion, which was revolting to his 
religious feelings. His reply to the Arian was in effect 
this: " Christ is, as you say, the Logos appearing in the 
flesh and performing the part of a human soul; but the 
Logos is not a creature, as you maintain; He is truly 

1 An interesting evidence of this is supplied in the fact, that when the Emperor 
Julian interdicted the reading of the classic poets and orators in the Christian 
schools, in the year 362, Apollinaris, along with his father, set himself to provide 
a kindred literature in the shape of versions of the Scriptures, the father taking 
up the Old Testament, and turning the Pentateuch into heroic verse, in imitation 
of Homer, and doing other portions into comedies, tragedies, and lyrics, in imita- 
tion of Menander, Euripides, and Pindar; while the son took up the New Testa- 
ment, and turned the Gospels and Epistles into dialogues, in the style of Plato. 



42 The Humiliation of Christ. 

divine, eternally begotten, not made, and therefore morally 
infallible." In no other way did it seem to him possible 
to escape the Arian mutability {vpenrov), for he not only 
admitted the fallibility of all creatures, however exalted, 
but he believed that in human beings at least a rational 
soul, endowed with intelligence and freedom, not only may, 
but must inevitably fall into sin. Freedom, in fact, usually 
supposed to be a distinction of the human mind, exalting 
it in the scale of being above the lower animal creation, 
was in his view an evil to be got rid of, — and accordingly 
he sought to get rid of it, in the case of Christ, by denying 
that He had a human mind, and ascribing to Him only an 
immutable divine mind which, to quote his own words, 
" should not through defect of knowledge be subject to the 
flesh, but should without effort bring the flesh into harmony 
with itself" 1 (as its passive instrument). 

As to the second advantage believed to be gained by the 
theory, that, viz., of securing the unity of Christ's person, 
Apollinaris contended that, on the supposition of the two 
natures being perfect, the unity could not be maintained. 
" If," said he, " to perfect man be joined perfect God, there 
are two, not one: one, the Son of God by nature; another, 
the Son of God by adoption." 8 On the other hand, he held 
that his theory gave one person, who was at once perfect 
man and perfect God, the two natures not being concrete 
separable things, but two aspects of the same person. 
Christ was true God, for He was the eternal Logos mani- 
fest in the flesh. He was also true man, for human nature 
consists of three component elements, body, animal soul, 
and spirit, and all these were combined, according to the 

1 Gregory of Nyssa, Adv. Apollinarem, c. 40. The words of Apollinaris are: 
Dvh dpa 6ojZsrai to dvbpoomvov yivoS 67 avaAt'/ipSGoS vov, uai o\ov 
iiv f jfjoj7tov, dXXd did 7tpo6\r/ipea)S 6apu6i, % cpv6ixdv uiv to r/yeuo- 
vf.vedQai (whose nature it is to be ruled) fdsiro 8e (XTpiitTov vov, jutj \.no- 
'r/TTTovToi avT-fl Sid iTti6Trjiio6vvi)i a.6 r J£VFiav, dXXd 6vvapu6ZovToS 
avTrjv d(jia6iGDi ecxvTcp. All the accounts of the views of Apollinaris agree 
in ascribing to him the strange, almost Manichaean, doctrine, that freedom, the 
attribute of a rational soul, necessarily involved sin. Vid. Athanasius, De Incar- 
ndiione Christi (near the beginning): offou ydp tsAsioS dvbpoano'i (complete 
man, metaphysically) kxei ncci diiapTia; also De Salutari Adventu yesu 
Christi, sub init. Epiphanius, Adv. Haereses, 1. iii. t. ii.; Dimoeritae, c. 26. 

* Greg. cc. 39, 42. 



The Patristic Christology. 43 

theory, in the person of Christ; while, on the common the- 
ory, there were four things combined in Him, whereby He 
became not a man, but a man-God, 1 a monstrum, resem- 
bling the fabulous animals of Greek mythology. True, it 
might be objected that the third element in the person of 
Christ, the nous, was not human but divine. But Apolli- 
naris was ready with his reply. " The mind in Christ," he 
said in effect, " is at once divine and human; the Logos is 
at once the express image of God and the prototype of hu- 
manity." This appears to be what he meant when he as- 
serted that the humanity of Christ was eternal, — a part of 
his system which was much misunderstood by his oppo- 
nents, who supposed it to have reference to the body of 
Christ. 2 There is no reason to believe that Apollinaris 
meant to teach that our Lord's flesh was eternal, and that 
He brought it with Him from heaven, and therefore was 
not really born of the Virgin Mary; though some of his ad- 
herents may have held such opinions. His idea was, that 
Christ was the celestial man; celestial, because divine; man, 
not merely as God incarnate, but because the Divine Spirit 
is at the same time essentially human. In the combination 
whereby Christ's person was constituted there was thus 
nothing incongruous, though there was something unique; 
the divine being fitted in its own nature, and having, as it 
were, a yearning to become man. This was the speculative 
element in the Apollinarian theory misapprehended by 
contemporaries, better understood, and in some quarters 
more sympathized with, now. 3 

The third advantage accruing from his theory, that of 
making God in very deed the subject of a suffering human 
experience, Apollinaris reckoned of no less value than the 
other two. It seemed to him of fundamental importance, 

1 Greg. c. 49. 

* So Gregory Nys., Athanasius, and Epiphanius: in the works referred to in 
previous note. 

3 See Domer, Person of Christ, div. i. vol. ii. p. 372 (Clark's translation). 
Dorner's account of the Apollinarian theory is very full, able, and candid, and, 
as far as I can judge, satisfactory; though, as we have only fragments to judge from, 
there must always be uncertainty on some points. For passages out of the work 
of Apollinaris bearing on the subject of the affinity of the divine and the human 
natures, see cap. 48-55 in Greg. Adv. Apoll. Baur's account (Die Lehre von 
der Dreieinigkeit, vol. i.) is less reliable. 



44 The Humiliation of Christ* 

in a soteriological point of view, that the person of Christ 
should be so conceived of, that everything belonging to 
His earthly history, both the miracles and the sufferings, 
should be predicable directly and exclusively of the divine 
element in Him. On this account he was equally opposed 
to the Photinian and to the ordinary orthodox view of 
Christ's person: to the former, because it made Christ merely 
a divine man (avQpaoxoS evQeoi), 1 the human, not the divine, 
being the personal element; to the latter, because it virtu- 
ally divided Christ into two persons, a divine and a human, 
referring to the divine only the miracles of power and 
knowledge, and ascribing to the human everything of the 
nature of suffering. On either theory, it appeared to him, 
the end of the Incarnation remained unaccomplished; man 
was not redeemed, unless it could be said that God tasted 
death. A man liable to the common corruption cannot 
save the world; neither can we be saved, even by God, un- 
less He mix with us. He must become an impeccable man, 
and die, and rise again, and so destroy the empire of death 
over all; He must die as God, for the death of a mere man 
does not destroy death, but only the death of one over 
whom death cannot prevail. 2 Such thoughts as these ap- 
peared to Apollinaris arguments in favour of his theory; 
for he maintained that on the common theory the divine 
had really no part in Christ's sufferings; 3 a statement not 
without some plausibility in reference to the orthodox 
Fathers, whose views regarding the impassibility of the di- 
vine nature were very rigid. To rectify this defect was a 
leading, we may say the leading, aim of the new Christol- 
ogy. Gregory of Nyssa, in his polemical treatise against 
Apollinaris, states that the whole scope of the work in 
which the latter promulgated his opinions was to make the 
deity of the only-begotten Son mortal, and to show that 
not the human in Christ endured suffering, but the impassi- 

1 Greg. c. 6: To ai'typoortov £y r jsov toy Xpi6vov ovo/idZeiv, kvavriov 
tivai ralS <xTto6ro\iHa.1S 8t8a6HaXiaiS' aWorpiov Si ra>v 6vv68gjv' 
IJavAoy 8s (of Samosata) xai <Pgdteiv6i' xai MdpxeA.Xov zijs zoiavrr?? 
Sia6zpoq>TJ l S xazdpiai (these men began this perverse way of speaking of 
I 

' Greg. cap. 51, 52. 3 Greg. cap. 27. 



The Patristic Christology. \S 

ble and unchangeable nature in Him, converted to partici- 
pation in suffering. 1 

It is easy to understand what a fascination a theory like 
the foregoing would have for a speculative mind; nor are 
we surprised to learn that, on its being promulgated, it was 
received with enthusiasm by many. It was a theory whose 
appearance in the course of doctrinal development was to 
be looked for, and in some respects even to be desired; and 
it could not have an author and advocate better qualified 
by his gifts and character to do it full justice, and secure 
for it the respectful and serious consideration of the Church, 
than it found in Apollinaris. Yet the defects of this theory 
are very glaring. One radical error is the assumption thafc 
to get rid of sin we must get rid of a human mind in Christ. 
Gregory of Nyssa, referring to the apostolic dictum, 
" tempted in all points like as we are, without sin," very per- 
tinently remarks, parenthetically, "but mind is not sin."* 
If it be sin, then, to be consistent, the theory ought to take 
away mind not merely from Christ, but from human nature 
itself. Yet Apollinaris is so far from doing this, that he 
represents mind (vovs) as the leading element in human 
nature (to xvpioorarov). 3 It is because vovi is rci Kvptoorarov 
that its omission is necessary in order to secure the unity 
of Christ's person. If Christ consists of two perfect, that 
is, complete, unmutilated natures, then, according to Apolli- 
naris, He is two persons, not one. It thus appears that to 
the metapJiysical perfection of human nature vovz is indis- 
pensable, while for its moral perfection the removal of the 
same element is equally indispensable; a view which on the 
one hand involves a Manichaean attitude towards the first 
creation, and on the other hand makes a theory of sanctifi- 
cation impossible. The old man is inevitably bad because 
he is free; and the new man is to be made good, either by 
the mutilation of his nature, or by a magical overbearing 
cf his nature by divine power. 

Another manifest defect in the theory is, that it adopts 

' Greg. cap. 5. 

s Cap. 11: 6 di vovi duapria ovh edzt. 

3 Greg. Nys. Adv. Apoll. c. 23: Christ was ovh avSpGJ7to?, d\\' caS ar- 

3/3GJ7TOS dlOTl OVH OUOOV6lOi TCp dv r JpODTZ(p Hard TO HVpiGQTCtT OV. 



46 The Humiliation of Christ. 

means for excluding the possibility of sin in Christ, whick 
defeat another of its own chief ends, that, viz., of making 
the Divine partaker of suffering. Place is found for the 
physical fact of death, but no place is found for the moral 
suffering connected with temptation. Christ is so carefully 
guarded from sin, that He is not even allowed to know 
what it is to be tempted to sin. The author of the theory 
is so frightened by that Arian scarecrow, the rpenrov, that 
he solves the problem of Christ's sinlessness by annihilating 
the conditions under which the problem has to be worked 
out. There is no human nous, no freedom, no struggle; the 
fragment of human nature assumed yields itself passively 
to the sweet control of the Divine Spirit, which dwells 
within it as its active principle; ' the so-called temptations 
and struggles recorded in the Gospels are reduced to a show 
and a sham, and a cheap virtue results, devoid of all human 
interest, and scarcely deserving the name. It is true 
Apollinaris did what he could to prevent this consequence, 
and to make Deity enter fully and really into the conditions 
of human life, by regarding the Incarnation as involving 
for the Logos a self-division (diaiptdis), by which He en- 
tered into an inequality with Himself, and was at once in- 
finite and finite, impassible and capable of becoming par- 
taker in human sufferings and conflicts; not, however, by a 
physical necessity, but by a free act of love. 2 But this de- 
vice of a double aspect in the Logos falls short of the pur- 
pose. To arrive at the result aimed at — a real and full 
participation in suffering, — the theory must go further, and 

1 Greg. Nys. Adv. Apoll. c. 41: dftiddTcoZ, (pridi, t?)v ddpxa 7} SeotjjS 
TtpoddyETai. Gregory takes afliddrooi as meaning freely: to dfiiadTov, 
St/Xadr}, to 'exivdiov Xe'yet. But Apollinaris uses the word to express the 
pliancy of the flesh, resulting from its having no will of its own. The flesh was 
literally as clay in the hands of the Logos as the Potter. 

* Such seems to be the meaning of the following obscure extracts from Apolli- 
naris in Gregory's work, c. 29: Aiaip&iv fiiv ti)v tvepyeiav xavd dapxa, 
ictdaiv 8s xara nvevua . . . "Qnsp ex £l T V V tv Swd/iei itdXiv ido- 
T7]Ta xai tt)v xara ddpxa ttjZ tvEpyeiai diaipadiv c. 58: '0 IZcoTTip 
7t£7tov r JE itElvav, xai Siipav, xai xduaTov, xai dyooviav, xai Xvttvv 
. . . Kai Ttadxzi to drtapddtxTov 7td f )ov?, ovx avdyxp (pvdsaos dftov- 
At'/tov, xa r Ja7tep av f JpconoS, aXXa dxoXovOiqc cpvdSGO?. Gregory looks 
upon the words from ovx dvdyxrj as unintelligible, and asks what is the differ- 
ence between necessity of nature and consequence of nature. 



The Patristic Christology. 47 

convert the Logos into an ordinary human soul, having the 
advantage of starting on its career free from sinful bias, but 
exposed like other souls to temptation, and possessing only 
a power not to sin {posse non peccare), and this would bring 
it round to meet the opposite extreme, the hated Arian 
fallibility. 

The argument against the Apollinarian theory was con- 
ducted by the Fathers chiefly from a soteriological point of 
view. Gregory Nazianzen put the matter in a nut-shell 
when he said: " That which is not assumed is not healed." ' 
The patristic theory of redemption was, that Christ re- 
deemed man, so to speak, by sample, presenting to God in 
His own person the first-fruits of a renewed humanity. 
Athanasius contrasts the Apollinarian and the orthodox 
theories of redemption thus: "Ye say that believers are 
saved by similitude and imitation, not by renovation, or by 
first-fruits." 2 Salvation being by first-fruits, of course the 
Saviour must be physically like His brethren in soul as 
well as in body, otherwise the sample would not be like 
the bulk. As Cyril put it: Christ must take flesh that He 
might deliver us from death; and He must take a human 
soul to deliver us from sin, destroying sin in humanity by 
living a human life free from all sin, — rendering the soul 
He assumed superior to sin by dyeing it, and tinging it 
with the moral firmness and immutability of His own divine 
nature. 3 But while insisting on this view of salvation, the 
opponents of Apollinaris pointed out that even on his own 
soteriological theory it behoved Christ to assume a perfect 
humanity. How, asked Athanasius very pertinently, can 
there be imitation tending to perfection unless there be 
first a perfect exemplar ? * 

• Epist. 1, ad Cledonium: to ydp dTtpo6Xijitvov dhtpditEVTOY. 

2 De Salutari Adventu yesu Chris ti (about the middle): 'AXXd XiyevE rf) 
6uoioo6ei xai r# juiutJ6si 6c6'Z£6 r iai zovS 7tidrevorraS, xai ov ry dva.' 
xaividsi, xai zij" dnapxy- 

s De Incarnatione Unigenili, torn. viii. Opera, Migne, p. 1214. 

4 De Incarnatione Christi (near the beginning): ui/.ir/di? 8s 7ta>? dv yivoivo 
npoS TsXsioTtyra, jutj npovita.p'ia6T]Z rrjs dvevdeovi reXeiozrjroi. On 
the Apollinarian I heory of redemption, see Dorner, who, in opposition to Baur and 
M&hler, denies that it was a mere doctrine of imitation. Cyril seems to have 
looked on it in this light, for in the Dialogue on the Incarnation he makes one 



4S The Humiliation of Christ. 

The Nestorian controversy, which broke out about half 
a century after the death of Apollinaris, 1 may be regarded 
as the natural sequel of the controversy concerning the in- 
tegrity of Christ's humanity, whereof a brief account has 
just been given. The Church, by the voice of Councils and 
of its representative men, having declared in favour of a 
complete unmutilated humanity, the next question calling 
for decision was, How do the two natures in Christ, the 
divine and the human, stand related to each other ? On 
this momentous question the Antioch school of theologians 
took up a position diametrically opposed to that of Apolli- 
naris. Whereas Apollinaris had sacrificed the integrity of 
Christ's humanity for the sake of the unity of His person, 
the Syrian theologians, represented by Theodore of Mop- 
suestia, and by his pupils, Xestorius, patriarch of Constan- 
tinople, and Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus, seemed disposed 
to sacrifice the unity of the person in favour of the integrity 
of the humanity. Their attitude was substantially this: 
they were determined at all hazards to hold by the reality 
of the two factors, and especially of the humanity, the 
latter being the thing assailed; and to admit only such a 
union as was compatible with such reality. Christ must 
be a man, at all events, whatever more; a man in all re- 
spects, save sin, like other men, having a true body, a 
reasonable soul, and a free will, liable to temptation, and 
capable of real, not merely apparent, growth, not only in 
stature, but in wisdom and virtue. Such was the Christ 
they found in the New Testament, such the Christ who 
could lay hold of human sympathies; in such a Christ, 
therefore, they were determined to believe, both as men 
devoted to exegetical studies, and as men of an ethical 
rather than a theological bent of mind. 

With the resolute maintenance of the reality of Christ's 
manhood, the theologians of Antioch did not find it possible 
to accept of any union of the natures, except one of an 

of the interlocutors ask: " What if they should say that our state needed only the 
sojourning of the Only-begotten among us ? but as He wished to be seen of mor- 
tals, and to have intercourse with men, and to show to us the way of evangelic 
life, He put on (economically) flesh like ours, as the divine in its own nature 
cannot be seen." — Cy. Op., Migne, viii. p. 1212. 
' Between 380 and 392 a. d. ; exact date uncertain. 



The Patristic Christology. 49 

ethical character. They rejected a physical union {Jvoo6i<, 
natf ov6i<xv) because it seemed to them inevitably to involve 
a mixture of natures (xpa6ti), and therefore to lead either 
to a dissipation of the humanity, or to a degradation of the 
unchangeable divine element, or to both. In his animadver- 
sions on the second of Cyril's twelve anathemas against 
Nestorius (which condemns those who deny a union by 
hypostasis, hypostasis being taken in the sense of substance), 
Theodoret says: " If by union (««?' vn66ra6iv') he means 
that a mixture of flesh and Deity has taken place, we con- 
fidently contradict him, and charge him with blasphemy. 
For of necessity confusion follows mixture; and confusion 
ensuing, destroys the properties of either nature. For 
things mixed do not remain what they were before. But if 
mixture took place, God did not remain God, nor could the 
temple (His humanity) be recognised as a temple; but God 
was temple, and temple was God." 1 From jealousy of this 
mixture, supposed to be taught by their opponents, the 
Antiochlans disliked the term Oeoroxos (mother of God) ap- 
plied to the mother of our Lord, which was the occasion of the 
outbreak of the controversy, and became famous as the battle- 
cry of orthodoxy in the fierce war against Nestorian heretics. 
They did not absolutely deny the applicability of the epithet ; 
but they looked on it with disfavour, as extremely liable to 
abuse, and fitted to create the erroneous impression that 
the Word literally became flesh; and they preferred to give 
Mary the title of Xpi6tot6kos (mother of Christ), and to 
Christ Himself the title Osocpopos (God-bearer); their idea of 
the Incarnation being that Mary gave birth to a human 
being, to whom, from the first moment of His conception, 
the Logos joined Himself. 2 This union, formed at the 
earliest possible period, between the Logos and the man 
Jesus, those who followed the Nestorian tendency described 

Cyril. Apologeticus contra Theodoretitm, pro. xii. capitibus, Anath. ii. 
2 Cyril quotes Nestorius, saying: If any simple person likes to call Mary Qeo- 
TOHoi, I don't object; only don't let him call the Virgin a goddess, uovov hi) 
noisirao ttjy ndpBsvov Seav. — Adv. Nestorium (Cy. Op., Migne, t. ix. p. 57). 
Nestorius was jealous of the heathenish tendency of the name, mother of God, not 
without reason. Theodoret, in his animadversions on Anathema i., condemning 
those who deny to Mary the title ©eoroxoi, apologises for those who had been 
jealous of the word by saying, " We, following the Gospel statemert, assert that 
God the Word was not naturally made flesh, or changed into flesh, but He as 



5o The Humiliation of Christ. 

by a variety of phrases, all proceeding on the idea of ar 
ethical as opposed to a physical union. They called it an 
inhabitation; 1 and the general nature of the inhabitation, 
as distinct from that by which God dwells in all men, 
through His omnipresent essence and energy, they indi- 
cated by the phrase, " by good pleasure " {xaV evdoxiav); 
and this indwelling by good pleasure in Christ they further 
discriminated from God's indwelling in other good men, by 
representing it as attaining in Him the highest possible 
degree. This indwelling of the Logos in Christ was also 
said to be according to fore-knowledge, 2 the Logos choosing 
the man Jesus to be in a peculiar sense His temple, because 
He knew beforehand what manner of man He should be. 
Such was the way Theodore of Mopsuestia, in particular, 
viewed the union. Among other favourite phrases current 
in the same school were such as these: union by conjunc- 
tion; 3 union by relation, 4 as in the case of husband and wife; 
union in worth, honour, authority; 5 union by consent of 
will; 6 union by community of name;' and so forth; for it 
were endless to enumerate the Nestorian tropes or modes 
of union. 

It is manifest from these and the like phrases that the 
Nestorian manner of conceiving the person of Christ really 
involved a duality of persons. In Christ were united by 
physical juxtaposition and ethical affinity two persons: one, 
the Son of God by nature; the other, a Son of God by 
adoption. Yet Nestorius and his friends did not wish to 
teach a duality of persons or of sons, and would not allow 
their opponents to represent them as teaching such a 
doctrine. Their position as defined by themselves was: 
there are two hypostases, but only one person (itp66G07tov), 
one Son, one Christ. 8 Nestorius, as quoted by his great 

sumed flesh, and tabernacled among us, according to the word of the evangelist, 
and the teaching of Paul, when he speaks of Christ taking the form of servant 
{liopcpj}v SovXov Xafiaov)." — Cyril. Apolog. contra Theodoret. Anath. i. Op. 
Migne, ix. p. 392. ' lvoiHt/6t l >. 

2 Kara itpoyvoiav. 3 6vvaq>£ia. 4 evoodiS dx £ttH W- 

8 rar' d'ciav, naV ouorifiiav, KaV av'uvriav, 

6 Mara ravrofiovXiav. " ua^ uiicsvv^iav. 

8 Cyril. Apolog. contra Theodoret. Anath. iii.: ev uev Ttp66co7tov uai eva 
TTidv nai Xpidrov buoXoy tlv ev6efje?- dvo 8s raS evGo0ei6aS V7to0rd~ 
GtiS, ei'rovv q>v<5eil, Xeyeiv ovh aroitov, dXXd xar airiav dxoXovOor 



The Patristic Christology. 5i 

opponent Cyril, said: " There is no division as to conjunc- 
tion, dignity, Sonship, or as to participation in the name 
Christ; there is only a division of the Deity and the hu- 
manity. Christ as Christ is indivisible; for we have not 
two Christs, or two Sons: there is not with us a first and a 
second, nor one and another, nor one Son and another Son; 
but one and the same is double, not in dignity, but in 
nature." J Hence the question, Were Nestorius and those 
who thought with him Nestorians in the theological sense ? 
may be answered both affirmatively and negatively: nega- 
tively, if you look to what they said they held and honestly 
wished to hold; affirmatively, if you look to the logical consis- 
tency of their system. They made Christ as much an indepen- 
dent, self-subsistent man as if He were altogether distinct from 
the Logos; they described the union between Him and the 
Logos by phrases implying only a very close moral af- 
finity; so that the natural inference would seem to be, 
that the Logos was personally as distinct from Jesus as 
from any other good man, though more closely related 
to Him than to any other man. But they refused to 
draw the inference; they declared there were not in 
Christ one and another {aXXoi xai aWos), but only one 
who was double. 

The great opponent of the Antiochian Christology, Cyril, 
archbishop of Alexandria, held its advocates responsible 
for the logical consequences of their theory; and the strong 
side of his polemic is the manner in which he brings great 
principles to bear against the doctrine of a divided person- 
ality. Specially noticeable is the use which he makes of 
the idea of kenosis, in arguing against that doctrine. 
Again and again the thought recurs in his various contro- 
versial writings, that if the Logos did not become man, but 
merely assumed a man, then what took place was not a 
kenosis of the Divine Subject, but, on the contrary, an ex- 
altation of the human subject. Thus, in one place he says: 
" If, as our adversaries think, the only-begotten Word of 
God, taking a human being from the seed of David, pro- 
cured that He should be formed in the holy Virgin, and 
joined Him to Himself, and caused Him to experience 

1 Cyril. Contra Nestorium, lib. ii. c. v. 



52 The Humiliation of Christ. 

death, and, raising Him from the dead, conveyed Him up 
to heaven, and seated Him on the right hand of God, — ■ 
vainly, in that case, as it appears, is He said by the holy 
Fathers, and by us, and by all inspired Scripture, to have 
become man; for this and nothing else John means when 
he says, the Word became flesh (J \6yo<i 6dp'\ kyivezo). For 
on this theory the whole mystery of the economy in the 
flesh is turned to the contrary, and what we see is not the 
Logos, being God by nature and coming from God, letting 
Himself down to kenosis, taking the form of a servant, and 
humbling Himself; but, on the contrary, a man raised to 
the glory of Deity, and to pre-eminence over all, and taking 
the form of God, and becoming exalted to be an assessor 
on the throne with the Father." > In another place we find 
him arguing against the Xestorian doctrine of assump- 
tion in favour of his own doctrine of union by hypostasis, 
to the effect that the kenosis requires that the human at- 
tributes should be predicable of the Divine Subject. " Do 
you think," he asks his opponent Theodoret, " that St. Paul 
meant to deceive the saints when he wrote, ' that, being 
rich, He became poor on our account ' ? But who is the 
rich One, and how became He poor ? If, as they make 
bold to think and say, a man was assumed by God, how 
can He who was assumed and adorned with preternatural 
honours be said to have become poor ? He only can be said 
to have been impoverished who is rich as God. But how ? 
we must consider that question. For, being confessedly 
unchangeable in nature, He was not converted into the 
nature of flesh, laying aside His own proper nature; but He 
remained what He was, that is, God. Where, then, shall 
we see the humility of impoverishment ? Think you in 
this, that He took one like ourselves, as the creatures of 
Nestorius dare to say ? And what sort of poverty and 
exinanition would that be which consisted in His wishing 
to honour some man like us ? For God is not injured in 
any way by doing good. How, then, became He poor ? 
Thus, that being God by nature, and Son of God the 
Father, He became man, and was born of the seed of David 
according to the flesh, and subjected Himself to the servile, 

1 Quod units sit Christus, Opera, torn, viii., Migne, pp. 1279-8.1. 



The Patristic Christology. 53 

that is, to the human measure; 1 and having become man ; 
He was not ashamed of the measure of humanity. For, 
not having refused to become like us, how should He refuse 
those things by which it would appear that He had really 
for our sakes been made like us ? If, therefore, we separate 
Him from the humanities, whether things or words, we 
differ in no respect from those who all but rob Him of flesh, 
and wholly overturn the mystery of the Incarnation." 
Supposing some one to object, that it was altogether un- 
worthy of God to weep, to fear death, to refuse the cup, 
he goes on to say: " When the exinanition appears mean 
to thee, admire the more the charity of the Son. What 
you call little, He did voluntarily for thee. He wept 
humanly, that He might dry thy tears; He feared eco- 
nomically, permitting the flesh to suffer the things proper 
to it, that He might make us bold: He refused the cup, 
that the cross might convict the Jews of impiety; He is 
said to have been weak as to His humanity, that He might 
remove thy weakness; He offered prayers, that He might 
render the ears of the Father accessible to thee; He slept, 
that thou mightst learn not to sleep in temptation, but be 
watchful unto prayers. " 3 

I have made these quotations at some length, because, 
while fully illustrating the style of Cyril's argumentation 
from the kenosis against the Nestorian theory, they at the 
same time set forth clearly his conception of the kenosis 
as resulting from a hypostatical union, in virtue of which 
all the humanities in Christ's earthly history were predica- 
ble of the Logos as the personal subject. Looking now at 
these passages and others of similar import from a contro- 
versial point of view, there can be no doubt that they have 
great argumentative force against the Nestorian view of 
Christ's person as conceived by Cyril. Yet the advocates 
of the controverted theory did not feel themselves mortally 
wounded by such arguments. On the contrary, they in 
turn argued from the kenosis against their antagonist. In 
his animadversions on Cyril's third anathema, which asserts 

1 SovXonpETtEi vitedv nirpov, tovze6ti to avSpo67ttvov. 

* Apolog. contra Tkeodoret, pro XII. capitibus, Anath. x. torn. ix. p. 440. 

3 Apolog. contra Theodoret. Anath. x. torn. ix. p. 441. 



54 The Humiliation of Christ. 

a physical as opposed to a merely moral union of the 
natures, Theodoret objects that such a union makes the 
kenosis a matter of physical necessity, instead of a volun- 
tary act of condescension. " Nature," he says, "is a thing 
of a compulsory character and without will. For example, 
we hunger physically, not suffering this willingly, but by 
necessity; for certainly those living in poverty would cease 
begging if they had it in their power not to hunger. In 
like manner we thirst, sleep, breathe by nature; for these 
are alj without will; and he who does not experience these 
things, of necessity dies. If, therefore, the union of the 
form of Son to the form of a servant was physical, then 
God the Logos was joined to the form of a servant as 
compelled by a certain necessity, not in the exercise of 
philanthropy, and the universal Lawgiver shall be found 
complying with compulsory laws, contrary to the teaching 
of Paul, who says; ' He humbled Himself, taking the form 
of a servant.' The words kavrov ekevoo6e point to a volun- 
tary act." ' To the same effect John of Antioch, criticizing 
the same anathema, speaking in the name of the whole 
Syrian church, asks: " If the union is physical, where is the 
grace, where the divine mystery ? For natures once formed 
by God are subject to the reign of necessity." 2 

Now Cyril certainly did recognise a reign of physical law, 
both in the constitution of Christ's person and in the 
course of His incarnate history. He held that the person 
was not secure against dissolution unless it were based on 
physical laws, rather than on a gracious relation of the 
Logos to the man Jesus, such as the Nestorian party ad- 
vocated. 3 And he considered that the Logos, in becoming 
man by a voluntary act, gave to physical laws a certain 
dominion over Himself: took humanity, on the understand- 
ing that its laws, conditions, or measures, were to be re- 
spected. In this very act of voluntary self-subjection to 

1 Cyril. Ap. c. Theod. Anath. iii. Anath. iii. runs: El' ris ?ni rov EvoS 
Xfji6rov dicxipr.i r«; v7to6rd6£iS uetcc ri)v 'ivoo6iv, novy Qwditroov 
avrai 6vva.(p£ia ry xard ti)v diiav ?}yovv av r JEvriav y 8vva6rEiav, 
xai acvxi Stj uaWov 6vvoSnv zifv xa'y Evoodiv q>v6iKr)v. 

2 Cyril. Apolog. pro XII. capitibus contra Orientales, Anath. iii. 

3 Quod units sit Christus, t. viii. p. 1296: ov ydp dvvitoitrov sii dno 

v, 6 in/ q>v6ixoiS Lpt]pEi6rai vouoii. 



The Patristic Christology. 55 

the laws of humanity did the kenosis consist. By this 
principle Cyril explained the facts of birth, growth in stature, 
and experience of sinless infirmities, such as hunger, thirst, 
sleep, weariness, etc., in the earthly history of the Saviour. 
" It was not impossible," he says in one place, " for the 
omnipotent Logos, having resolved for our sakes to become 
man, to have formed a body for Himself by his own power, 
refusing birth from a woman, even as Adam was formed; 
but because that might give occasion to unbelievers to 
calumniate the Incarnation, saying it was not real, there- 
fore it was necessary that He should go through the ordi- 
nary laws of human nature." 1 With reference to physical 
growth, he says in another place: " It was not impossible 
that God, the Word begotten of the Father, should lift the 
body united to Him out of its very swaddling-clothes and 
raise it up to the measure of mature manhood. But this, 
would have been a thaumaturgical proceeding, and incon- 
gruous to the laws of the economy; for the mystery was ac- 
complished noiselessly. Therefore, in accordance with the 
economy, He permitted the measures of humanity to prevails 
over Himself." 2 In a third passage he applies the same 
principle of compliance with the laws of humanity to ex- 
plain a group of infirmities, including the appearance of 
ignorance (a point of which I shall speak more particularly 
forthwith). "With humanity, the only-begotten Word 
bore all that pertains to humanity, save sin. But ignorance 
of the future agrees to the measures of humanity; therefore, 
while as God knowing all, as man He does not shake Him- 
self clear of the appearance of ignorance as suitable to 
humanity. For as He, being the life of all, received bodily 
food, not despising the measure of the kenosis (He is also 
described as sleeping and being weary); so likewise, know- 
ing all, He yet was not ashamed to ascribe to Himself 
the ignorance which is congruous to humanity. For all 
that is human became His, sin alone excepted." 3 

1 Adv. Nestor, lib. i. cap. i. t. ix. p. 22: HEXooprjHEy dvaynaicoi Sid rdov 
dv(ipooTtivr]S (pvdsooi vojiioov. 

2 Quod unus Christus, t. viii. p. 1332: 'EteXeito yap aipcxpyri to juv6- 
rr/piov (a fine expression!). 'HcpiEi Sr} ovv oIhovojuixgoS toi? trji dvBpoo- 
■XOTTJTOS /.lETpOlZ iq>' EO.VTGJ) to xpaTElv. 

3 Adv. Anthropomorphitas, c. xiv. ; vid. Appendix, Note A 



56 The Humiliation of Christ. 

In advocating this reign of physical law, Cyril proclaimed 
an important truth, and committed no offence against the 
freedom of the Logos. His fault rather lay in restricting 
the reign of law to the material sphere, excluding it from 
the intellectual or moral. This in point of fact he did. 
He recognised no real growth in wisdom or in character in 
Christ. He felt, indeed, that the claims of the kenosis ex- 
tended to the mind as well as to the body, and he made 
every possible effort to satisfy those claims; but he did not 
see his way to letting the intellectual and moral growth of 
Christ be anything more than an appearance. The union 
between the Logos and the humanity was so close and of 
such a nature, in his view, that the Logos per se could not 
be conceived as possessing knowledge of which the incar- 
nate person was not also consciously possessed. If, as al, 
admitted, ignorance could not be predicated of the former, 
neither could it be predicated of the latter. To ascribe to 
Christ real ignorance was in effect to dissolve the union, 
and to make Him a man connected with the Logos by an 
intimate ethical relation. Cyril was fully sensible of the 
critical importance of the problem, how the ascription to 
Christ in the gospel history, of growth in knowledge as a 
child, and of ignorance even in ripe manhood, was to be 
understood. He returns to it again and again; he discusses 
it in at least eight different places of his extant works, 
sometimes at considerable length; he exercises his ingenuity 
in inventing forms of language by which to express his 
idea: but he never gets beyond appearance. The kenosis 
is real in the physical region, it is doketic in the intellec- 
tual. Practically the position in which Christ is placed is 
this: the measures of the kenosis require Him to seem 
ignorant, as ignorance belongs to the state He has as- 
sumed — being an attribute of ordinary humanity; but the 
Logos is incapable of so adapting Himself to the human 
nature He has assumed, that the ignorance of the thean- 
thropic person shall in any case be real, even the child's 
growth in knowledge being in reality only a gradual man- 
ifestation to others of a knowledge already inwardly com- 
plete. In every one of the passages in which Cyril discusses 
the question, this is the way the case is put. Xow he rep- 



TJie Patristic Christology. 5"] 

resents Christ as usefully pretending not to know the day 
of judgment, now as not shunning the appearance of igno- 
rance as decent in one who had assumed humanity, now as 
economizing or schematizing in speaking of Himself as 
ignorant. The growth of the boy in knowledge is resolved 
into a gradual revelation of Himself to the world, out of 
respect to the physical law by which in ordinary men bodily 
and mental growth progress together; this law in Christ's 
case being complied with by a real growth of the body, 
and by a studied appearance of growth in the mind. " We 
teach," says Cyril, in his second oratio ad reginas, putting 
the matter as precisely as possible, — "we teach that it 
was agreeable to the measures of the kenosis that Christ 
should receive bodily growth and gradual consolidation and 
strengthening of the bodily organs, and likewise that He 
should seem to be filled with wisdom; because it was most 
meet that the manifestation of His indwelling wisdom 
should keep pace with the increase in His bodily stature." ' 
At this point the views of Cyril stand in the sharpest 
possible contrast to those of the Oriental theologians, who 
took the Gospel statements in their plain, natural sense, 
and believed that Christ grew in knowledge as well as in 
stature, and made progress in virtue through real conflict 
with temptation. The difference in this respect between 
the two schools was the natural result of their respective 
points of view. The Alexandrians started from the divine 
side, and made the humanity as real as seemed compatible 
with its hypostatic union to the Logos; the Orientals started 
from the human side, and made the union between the man 
and the Logos as intimate as was compatible with the re- 
ality of the humanity. Both schools failed on different 
sides: the Orientals, on the side of the unity of the person; 
the Alexandrians, on the side of the reality of the human 
nature and experience. Both failed from one cause — over- 
confident dogmatism as to the conditions and possibilities 

1 The question concerning the knowledge of Christ being important, and the 
views of Cyril having been misunderstood by some, e. g. Forbes in his Listruc- 
tiones historico-tkeologicae, I deem it advisable to give the passages in Cyril's wok 
bearing on the topic in full. These accordingly, eight in all, of which Forbes 
quotes only three, the reader will find in Appendix, Note A, with an English 
translation in parallel columns. 



The Humiliation of Christ. 

of the Incarnation. Both started from the assumption that 
a union such as is implied in God becoming man, as dis- 
tinct from that formed by God assuming a man, is not 
compatible with a completely real human experience. It 
would have been wiser in both to have accepted the facts, 
whether they could explain them or not. Had Cyril, in 
particular, taken this course, he would have escaped moral 
and intellectual doketism; he would not have felt it neces- 
sary to place Christ in the unworthy position of being 
obliged, out of regard to decency, to feign an ignorance 
which was not real; he would have conceived it possible 
that the Logos might be conscious of the child Jesus, while 
the child was unconscious of the Logos, or entirely without 
self-consciousness; he would not only have taught a gradual 
revelation of the Logos through Jesus to others, but, with 
his predecessor Athanasius, he would have admitted that 
the Logos revealed Himself to Himself in Jesus, 1 and grew 
in Himself; the Wisdom of God building in Jesus a house 
for Himself, and causing the house to make progress in 
wisdom and grace. How these things can be, it may be 
difficult, or even impossible, to explain — more ways of ex- 
plaining them than one have been proposed; but we must 
not suspend acceptance of facts till we have found a theory 
which accounts for them; we must accept the facts first, 
and seek for our theory at leisure. 

The manner in which Cyril disposed of the problem of 
mental growth may be regarded as an index of the general 
character of his Christology. That Christology has been 
characterized as physical rather than ethical;- and it may 
be further described as monophysitical in tendency, though, 
it must be admitted, not avowedly, for its author repudi- 
ated mixture and confusion of the natures, as earnestly as 
Nestorius repudiated the charge of teaching two Sons.* 
Cyril looked on the divine and the human natures as two 

1 Oratio iii., Con. Arianos, c. 52: Kai rov Xoyov qxxvEpovvroS kccvrov 
eavra). Then a little below in the same place: El XPV $£ *0 mQavcSs uezd 
rov aXrfiovS eineTv, avro? kv iavzcS it p6 EHoitz s- r/ 6o<pia y&p who- 
8ourj6ev iavry oihov, xai Iv avrrf, toy oinov Ttpoxoitrtiv knout. 

2 Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. i. p. 73. 

3 Vid. Quod units sit Christus, p. 1260: yiyovtv a.v r Jpooitoi ovk sis 6apua 
zpanei?, r/ cpvp^ov rj xpdtiiv, 77 rx. xcSv toiovtoqv erepoy vnojusiyai. 



The Patristic Christology. 5 9 

elements, or things, as he sometimes calls them, 1 so closely 
connected that they were as one. He closes his treatise 
on the unity of Christ's person, confessing one and the same 
Son, of two things appearing ineffably as one somewhat out 
of two; 8 and in another place he declares that the incarnate 
nature of the Logos must be regarded as one after the 
union, comparing the composite nature successively to that 
formed by the union of body and soul in an ordinary man, 
to a live coal, a pearl, and a lily; the Logos being the fire 
in the coal, the brightness in the pearl, and the sweet odour 
in the lily. 8 He betrays his monophysitic tendencies also 
by occasional representations of the relation between the 
two natures, somewhat akin to the Lutheran doctrine of 
the communication of properties (communicatio idiomatum). 
He speaks of the humanity as deified; 4 of the Logos as col- 
lecting both natures into one, and mixing up together the 
properties of the two; 5 of John the Evangelist as, in the 
preface of his first Epistle, almost gathering into one the 
natures, and conducting the virtue of the properties of both, 
as confluent streams into one common watercourse; 6 of the 
flesh of Christ as endowed with life-giving power. 7 On the 
other hand, just as in the Lutheran doctrine of communi- 
cation, while the divine nature communicates some of its 
properties to the human, the human in turn communicates 
nothing to the divine. The divine element remains im- 
passible amid the sufferings of the humanity, as heat in a 
mass of heated iron remains untouched by a stroke through 

Habsis ds judXXov iavzov «/? h£vgj6iv, etc.; also p. 1292: "Ez£pov juev 

XI Mat £Z£pOV fjEOVTjS KCti CX vfy pGQ7tOZ7)i . . . d/\/\.d ?/V £V Xpi6Z6J cEl'G) 1 

T£ xai vitip vovv £/J ivoziiza 6vv8£8pain)Koza dvyxv6£0Ji 8ixa xa- 
Tponr/S. 

1 npdynaza, in Apolog. pro XII. cap. contra Orientates, Anath. iv.; Quoc 
units sit Christus, p. 1254. 

s Quod touts sit Christus, p. 1254. 

3 Adv. Nestorium, lib. ii. pp. 60-62: /.tia yap r)8r} voEizai tpv6zS U£zo 
T77V £vgo6iy r) avzov z ov Xoyov 6£dapxoo/.t£v?/. 

* Thesaurus, Assertio 28, p. 429: ovzcoi kv docpia itpo£Konz£v ?} dvbpoa 
■nozriZ 6 £ on 01 ov // iv rj Si avziji- 

8 De htcarnatione Unigeniti, p. 1244. 

6 De htcarnatione Unigeniti, p. 1249: fxov ov ovxi xai dvvayEi'pcov rd< 
(pv6£i?, nai £is /.tidyayxEiav aycov rt3v ixazipa Ttp£n6vzoov iSicofxd 
Toov rr/v 8vva/.iiv. 

7 Adv. Nest. lib. iv. cap. v.: 6dpxa ^coonoiov (o \6yoS) dnitprjvtv. 



5o The Humiliation of Christ. 

which the iron itself is injured. 1 The blending of the natures 
issues in the weaker being, so to speak, swallowed up by 
the stronger. The humanity is still there; but it is so ex- 
alted and, as it were, transformed by its connection with 
divinity, that one may hardly dare speak of it as consub- 
stantial with that of ordinary men. 5 

Such being the character and general tendency of the 
Cyrillian type of Christology, it was a matter of course that 
the Nestorian controversy should pass into the Eutychian 
Phase, in which the question at issue was: Are there in the 
one person of Christ two distinct natures, or only one ? 
Concerning the opinions of Eutyches we have little exact 
information; but we know enough to be able to say that he 
had not the honour of originating a new and peculiar heresy. 
Eutychianism, as expounded by the man from whom it 
takes its name, was simply Cyrillianism gone mad — mon- 
ophysitic tendencies carried to extremes, with the char- 
acteristic extravagance of a monk who had brooded in his 
cell over his pet views till they assumed in his heated brain 
the form of fixed ideas. The party whom Eutyches repre- 
sented, including the monks of Constantinople and Egypt, 
and the unscrupulous bishop of Alexandria, Dioscuros, like 
Cyril, laid a great, one-sided emphasis on the unity of the 
person, and insisted on regarding all Christ's human ex- 
periences as predicable of the Divine Subject who had 
become incarnate. God, said they, was born; God died. 
They did not mean by such statements to teach that God, 
in becoming man, had been changed into flesh, or that the 
divine nature was in itself passible. They do indeed seem 
to have indulged in a style of expression which, strictly 

1 Quod unus sit Christus, p. 1357. Cyril apologizes for this metaphor, in in. 
troducing it to illustrate how the divine nature remained impassible amid the suffer- 
ings of Christ. Well he might; for the metaphor fails to do justice either to the 
nature of God or to the nature of suffering. Of course the divine nature cannot 
suffer as the body suffers; but there is a moral suffering of which God is capable 
because He is love. 

2 In one place (Quod units sit Christus, p. 1332) Cyril remarks that the Apostle 
'aul sometimes seems to shrink from calling Christ a man, instancing those words 

m the Epistle to the Galatians: " Paul, an apostle, not of men, nor by man, but 
by Jesus Christ," Gal. i. 1. It is significant that such an interpretation of Paul's 
words should have occurred to Cyril's mind. It is a straw showing the current 
of his thoughts. 



The Patristic Christology. 6] 

interpreted, laid them open to the charge of teaching such 
opinions, if we may rely on the accuracy of the representa- 
tion of their position given by Theodoret in the work en- 
titled, Eranistes, or Polymorphos, and manifestly directed 
against Eutychian views, though Eutyches is nowhere 
named. The title of this book sufficiently indicates the 
opinion entertained by its author of the views it is intended 
to controvert, 1 suggesting the idea of a piebald system of 
heterogeneous tenets begged from sundry heresies. In ex- 
plaining the name he had given his work, Theodoret illus- 
trates his meaning by representing the parties whom he 
has in his eye as borrowing from Marcion the appropriation 
of the name Christ to God alone, from Valentine the birth 
of the Logos by mere transition through Mary, from Apol- 
linaris the union of divinity and humanity into one nature, 
and from Arius and Eunomias the ascription of the passion 
to the divinity of Christ. 2 It is clear, however, that both in 
the selection and in the explanation of his title, Theodoret 
avails himself of a licence permissible in the dialogue form of 
composition, and draws his characters in bold outline for 
the sake of effect. His book is virtually a work of fiction, 
not containing a historical account of the exact opinions of 
certain individuals, but a free description of the affinities and 
tendencies of these opinions, intended to show their advo- 
cates the ultimate consequences to which they lead. Yet, 
notwithstanding the high colouring of the preface, the author 
allows it to appear clearly, in the course of the discussion 
between the two interlocutors, that the beggar is not so< 
great a heretic as he at first seemed. The monk with the 
parti-coloured garment has no theory as to how the Logos be- 
came man. He simply says, " The Word became flesh; how, 
He Himself knows."* Sticking to the words of the evan- 
gelist, as Luther stuck to the words " this is my body " in 
his sacramentarian controversy with Zuingli, he maintains 
that Christ, though of two natures, had only one nature 
after the union; but when asked how the two became one, 
— whether by chemical union, as in the case of gold and 
silver combining to form electron, — he replied that the union 

1 'EpavidT?/S, beggar; Tto\vuopq>oS, many-shaped. 

8 Vid. TtpoXoyoi. 3 Dialogue i. p. 7 (Opera, Paris, 1642, vol. iv.). 



62 The Humiliation of Christ. 

is not of that kind, that it cannot be explained in words, 
that it surpasses all comprehension; and only after being 
further pressed for an answer does he venture to say, "the 
divinity remains, and the humanity is absorbed by it as a 
drop of honey is absorbed by the sea;" 1 but when the 
absorption took place, whether at the conception or after 
the resurrection, he hardly can tell. He asserts that God 
suffered; but he admits the divine impassibility, and repre- 
sents God in Christ as suffering through the flesh, and 
voluntarily, in gracious love to men. 2 

It is plain from those representations that Eutyches had 
no distinct definite conception of the constitution of our 
Lord's person. He felt rather than thought on the subject 
of Christology. He did not pretend to comprehend the 
mystery of the Incarnation, but rather gloried in proclaim- 
ing its incomprehensibleness. He knew that God and flesh 
were altogether different things, and he believed that 
Christ's flesh was real; but the divinity bulked so large in 
his eye, that the humanity in comparison vanished into 
nothing. And if compelled by fact to admit that the 
humanity was still there, not drunk up like a drop of honey 
by the sea of the divinity, he refused, at all events, to re- 
gard it as on a level with ordinary humanity: reverence 
protested against calling Christ's divine body consubstan- 
tial with the bodies of common mortals. It would have 
been well had the course of events permitted such a man 
to pass his life in obscurity. But it was otherwise ordered. 
Eutyches became the representative of a theory which en- 
gaged the attention of three Synods; being condemned by 
the first, 8 approved by the second, 4 and re-condemned and 
finally disposed of as a heresy by the third, the famous Oecu- 
menical Council of Chalcedon, whose decree is quoted at 
length at the commencement of the present lecture. 

The policy of that Council was to steer a middle course 
between Nestorianism and Eutychianism; the former being 
conceived as teaching two persons in Christ, the latter as 

1 Dialogue ii. pp. 67, 77. 2 Dialogue iii. p. 121. 

3 Held at Constantinople, A.D. 448. 

4 Held at Ephesus, \.\>. 499; called the Robber Synod on account of the vio 
lent character of its proceedings. 



The Patristic Christology. 63 

teaching that there was not only but one person, but, more- 
over, only one nature; the one nature being predominantly 
divine, and, in so far as human, not like the nature of other 
men. Between the two extremes, so conceived, there was 
plenty of room for a middle course, and no very skilful 
pilotage was needed to keep the vessel within the limits of 
safe navigation. The pilot in this emergency, as is well 
known, was the Roman Bishop Leo, whose letter to Flavian, 
patriarch of Constantinople, concerning the errors of Euty- 
ches, guided the deliberations and fixed the judgment of 
the Fathers assembled at Chalcedon, and thus became an 
epoch-making document in the history of Christology. 
The substance of that celebrated epistle is as follows: — 
The Son of God became man by birth from the Virgin 
Mary, and in the incarnate Word two natures were com- 
bined into one person, each nature retaining its distinct 
property. For the deliverance of men from sin, an inviol- 
able nature was united to a passible nature, that one and 
the same Mediator between God and man, the man Christ 
Jesus, might be able to die in the one, and might be in- 
capable of dying in the other. Thus, in the entire and 
perfect nature of a true man true God was born totus in 
suis, totus in nostris, the nostra including everything but 
sin. This assumption of servile form by the Son of God, 
while exalting the humanity of Christ, did not diminish 
His divinity; for the kenosis by which the Lord of all willed 
to become one of mortals was not a loss of power, but an 
act of condescending compassion, 1 which, so far from intro- 
ducing an alteration into God, only demonstrated the 
unchangeableness of His will, which cannot be deprived of 
its benignity, and which refused to be baffled by the wiles 
of the devil aiming at the destruction of mankind. The 
Incarnation, being a fulfilment of divine love, involved at 
the same time for the Son of God no loss of divine glory. 
He descended from the celestial abode, not receding from 
the glory of His Father; 2 the immensity of His majesty 
was simply veiled by the assumption of a servile form. On 
the other hand, as God was not changed by compassion. 

1 Inclinatio fuit miserationis, non defectio potestatis. — Epist. c. 3. 

t De coelesti sede descendens, et a Paterna gloria non recedens. — Epist. c. 4, 



64 The Humiliation of Christ. 

so man was not consumed by dignity. 1 He who was true 
God was also true man — there was no lie in the union; the 
humility of the man and the altitude of Deity were co-ex- 
istent in the same person. Each nature in Christ performed 
in communion with the other what was congruous to itself, 
the Word doing what suited the Word, and the flesh what 
suited the flesh ; the former coruscating with miracles, the lat- 
ter submitting to injuries; the Word not receding from equal- 
ity in glory with His Father, the flesh not leaving the nature 
of our race. While the natures continue distinct in their 
properties, yet, in virtue of the unity of the person, things 
are sometimes predicated of the one which in strictness 
belong to the other. The Son of man is said to have 
descended from heaven, in allusion to the Incarnation; and 
the Son of God is said to have been crucified and buried, 
though He suffered these things not in His divinity, but in 
the infirmity of human nature. 2 

It is easy to recognise in this letter of Leo the source of, 
the formula framed and adopted by the Council of Chalce- 
don. The letter and the formula are virtually one From 
the " totus in suis, totus in nostris " of the letter comes the 
" perfect in Deity and the same perfect in humanity " of the 

formula; and the d6vyxvro3i, dzpeiiraoi, dSiaipizooi, dxGjpidrooi* 

of the formula do but condense into four words the various 
phrases scattered up and down the letter, in which the 
writer sets forth the distinctness and integrity of the two 
natures on the one hand, and their intimate, inseparable 
union in one person on the other. If, now, we inquire how 
far the letter and the formula together were fitted to put 
an end to controversy, it must be admitted that they did 
at least indicate the cardinal points of a true Christology, 
in which all controversialists should agree. They laid down 
these two fundamental propositions: Christ must be re- 
garded as one person, the common subject of all predi- 
cates, human and divine; and in Christ must be recognised 

1 Sicut enim Deus non mutatur miseratione: ita homo non consumitur digni- 
tz.Xe.—Epis(. c. 4. 

* Propter hanc unitatem personae in utraque natura intelligendam, et Filius 
hominis le^itur descendisse de coelo, et rursus Filius Dei crucifixus dicitur ac se- 
pultus. — Epist. c. 5. 

3 Without confusion, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably. 



The Patristic Christology. 65 

two distinct natures, the divine and the human — the divine 
not converted into the human, the human not absorbed 
into the divine; the latter side of the second proposition, 
the integrity and reality of the humanity, viz., being chief- 
ly emphasized, as the state of the controversy required. 
But they did little more than this. Leo and the Council 
told men what they should believe, but they gave little aid 
to faith by showing how the unity of the person and the 
distinctness of the natures were compatible with each other; 
aid which, if it could be had, was urgently needed, for the 
whole controversy may be said to have arisen from a felt 
inability to combine the unity and the duality, — those who 
emphasized the unity failing to do justice to the duality, 
and those who felt compelled to insist strongly on the in- 
tegrity of Christ's humanity not knowing well how to rec- 
oncile therewith the unity of His person. Aid of this kind 
was not to be looked for, indeed, in the decree of a Coun- 
cil, but it might perhaps have been reasonably expected 
from ai. epistle which almost assumed the dimensions of a 
theological treatise. Leo, however, makes no attempt at 
a solution of the problem, but contents himself with stat- 
ing its conditions. Certain points of critical importance 
he passes over in silence. For example, he says nothing 
on the question of Christ's knowledge, with which Cyril 
grappled so earnestly, though unsuccessfully. He does 
not say whether ignorance and growth in wisdom are or 
are not included under the phrase totus in nostris; and the 
omission is all the more noticeable that he does enter into 
some detail on the properties of Christ's humanity, reckon- 
ing among them birth, infancy, temptation, hunger, thirst, 
weariness, and sleep. It would have been instructive to 
know how the Roman bishop applied the formula tolus in 
suis, totus in nostris to the category of knowledge; and in 
case he reckoned omniscience among the sua, and ignor- 
ance among the nostra, to know how he combined these 
two opposites in one person, and how in this case each 
nature performed that which was common to it in com- 
munion with the other. From the style in which Leo ex- 
presses himself concerning the divine in Christ, one rather 
fears that he had no light to give on that subject. His 



66 The Humiliation of Christ. 

doctrine of divine immutability is very rigid. The Son of 
God in becoming man did not recede from the equality of 
paternal glory, 1 — a statement not in harmony either with 
the word or with the spirit of Scripture in speaking on the 
humiliation of Christ, and, indeed, as Dorner has observed,' 
not in keeping with a thought of Leo's own, occurring in 
an earlier part of his epistle, viz., that the Incarnation does 
not violate divine immutability, inasmuch as it is the deed 
of a will which loved man at his creation, and which does 
not allow itself to be deprived of its benign disposition 
towards man, either through his sin or through the devil's 
wiles. If God's unchangeablene">s be secured by the im- 
mutability of His loving will, why guard His majesty in a 
way that tends to make His love a hollow unreality ? why 
not let love have free course, and be glorified, even though 
its glorification should involve a temporary forfeiture of 
glory of another kind ? From our Christological point of 
view, that of the exinanition, this is a part of Leo's letter 
with which we cannot sympathize. The doctrine of exin- 
anition demands the unity of the person and the distinct- 
ness of the natures, especially the reality and integrity of 
the human nature; but it does not require us to guard the 
Divine Majesty as the disciples guarded their Master from 
the intrusion of the mothers with their children. With 
reference to such zeal, the Son of God says: " Suffer me to 
humble myself." Even Cyril understood this better than 
Leo, for he spoke of the Son of God as somehow made less 
than Himself in becoming man. 3 

On another subject Leo is silent — the question of the 
personality of the human nature. He teaches the unity of 
the person, but he does not say to which of the natures the 
personality is to be appropriated, or whether it belongs to 
both, or is distinct from both. Whether the humanity of 
Christ was personal or impersonal, whether Christ was not 

1 Sicut verbum ab aequalitate Paternae Gloriae non recessit ita, etc. — Epist. 
c. 4. 

2 Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. i. p. 88. 

3 TitEpixovToc. fiiv rcSv rrjs xri'dea>S uizpaov go? Btov iavrov Si 
ncti uovovovxi xoci fjrzGnievov xabu TteqjrjvEv avQpcoTTo?. — Ad reginas 
de verb fide, oratio altera, xvi. The manner in which Cyril here expresses him. 
«clf is curiously guarded and embarrassed, nooi /tovovovxi, somehow almost I 



The Patristic Christology. 67 

merely man but a man, whether personality is to be reck- 
oned among the nostra ascribed to Christ in their totality, 
— these are questions which either did not occur to his 
mind, or on which he did not feel able to throw light. The 
former supposition is probably the correct one; for the 
writers of the patristic period did not conceive a person as 
we do, as a self-conscious Ego, but simply as a centre of 
unity for the characteristics which distinguish one individ- 
ual from another. 1 According to this view, Christ would 
be " the result of the conjunction of natures, the sum total 
of both, the collective centre of vital unity which is at once 
God and man." 2 

The Council of Chalcedon proved utterly impotent to 
stay the progress of controversy; its only immediate effect 
being to produce a schism in the Church, whereby the 
Monophysite party became constituted into a sect. The 
great debate went on as if no ecclesiastical decision had 
been come to, prolonging its existence for upwards of three 
hundred years, and passing successively through three 
different stages, distinguished respectively as the Mono- 
physite, the Monothelite, and the Adoptian controversies. 
The Chalcedonian formula left a sufficient number of un- 
settled questions to supply ample materials for further dis- 
cussions. Are unity of the person and a duality of natures 
mutually compatible ? what belongs to the category of the 
natures and what to the category of the person, and, in 
particular, to which of the two categories is the will to be 
reckoned ? is personality essential to the completeness of 
each nature, in particular to the completeness of the human 
nature ? These questions in turn became the successive 
subjects of dispute in the long Christological warfare which 
ensued; the first being the radical point at issue in the 
Monophysite phase, the second in the Monothelite, the 
third in the Adoptian; the great controversy thus return- 
ing in its final stage, at the close of the eighth century, 
pretty nearly to the point from which it started at the be- 
ginning of the fourth, Adoptianism being, if not, as some 
think, with some difference of form, virtually Nestorianism 

1 Dorner, Person of Christ, div. i. vol. li. p. 320. 
8 Ibid. div. ii. vol. i. p. 87. 



68 The Humiliation of Christ. 

redivivus, at least the assertion of a double aspect in Christ's 
personality. Of the many contests which raged around 
these questions in the course of the next three centuries, I 
will not here attempt to give even the most cursory ac- 
count. The subject is indeed by no means inviting. From 
the Council of Chalcedon to the Council of Frankfort may 
be called the dreary period of Christology, the sources of 
information being comparatively scanty, the points at issue 
minute or obscure, and even when both clear and impor- 
tant, as in the Monothelite controversy, involving subtle 
scholastic discussions distasteful to the religious spirit, and 
presenting to view an anatomical figure in place of the 
Christ of the Gospel history. The doctrine, I suppose, had 
to pass through all the phases referred to, — probably not 
one of the battles, great or small, could have been avoided; 
still one is thankful his lot is cast in better times than those 
in which they were fought out. Who would care to spend 
his life discussing such questions as those which occupied 
the minds of men in the sixth century, and in reference 
to which Monophysite was at war with Monophysite, as 
well as with his orthodox opponents ? Was Christ's body 
corruptible or incorruptible — naturally liable to death, suf- 
fering, need, and weakness, or liable only because and when 
the Logos willed ? was it created or uncreated ? nay, could 
it be said after the union with the Logos to exist at all ? 
Such were the questions on which men felt keenly in that 
unhappy age, and in connection with which they be- 
stowed on each other nicknames offensive in meaning, un- 
musical in sound; the deniers of the corruptibility calling 
their antagonists Phthartolatrae, worshippers of the cor- 
ruptible; the asserters of corruptibility retorting on their 
opponents with the countercharge of Aphthartodoketism ;' 
the parties in the question whether the body of Christ after 
union with the Logos was to be regarded as created or as 
uncreated, calling each other in kindred spirit Aktistetes 
and Ktistolators; while those who completed the reductio 
ad absurdum of Monophysitism, by denying all distinctive 
reality to the humanity of Christ after the union, went by 
the name of Niobites, taken from the surname of the founder, 

1 See for further particulars in reference to this controversy, Lect. vi. 



The Patristic Christology. 69 

Stephen, an Alexandrian Sophist. Two other disputes em- 
braced within the Monophysitic controversy were of a 
more dignified character; those, viz., relating to the par- 
ticipation of the Logos in Christ's sufferings, and to the 
knowledge possessed by Christ's human soul. But it is a 
curious indication of the confused nature of the strife going 
on in those years, to find parties in the latter of these twrj 
disputes changing sides, — the Monophysites maintaining 
the position which one would have expected the defenders 
of the Chalcedonian formula to take up. The Agnoetes, 
that is to say, those who asserted that the human soul of 
Christ was like ours, even in respect of ignorance, were a 
section of the Monophysite party; and their opponents em- 
braced not merely the straiter sect of the Monophysites, 
but the Orthodox, who, as represented, e.g., by Bede, taught 
that Christ from His conception was full of wisdom, and 
therefore did not really grow in knowledge as in stature. 
Amid the smoke of battle men had got bewildered, and, 
fighting at random, fired upon their own side. 1 

Passing, then, without any great effort of self-denial, 
from these obscure wranglings, and leaping over, also with- 
out much regret, the Monothelite controversies which fol- 
lowed in what may called the era of anatomical Christology, 
I shall close this lecture with brief notices of two rep- 
resentative men with whom we shall hereafter find it 
convenient to have some acquaintance: one of them show- 
ing the state of Christology after the close of the contro- 
versy concerning the two wills, and before the rise of the 
Adoptian controversy; the other exhibiting the prevailing 
Christology of the mediaeval period, when the process of 
reaction which set in after the Council of Frankfort, in the 
direction of a one-sided assertion of Christ's divinity, had 
attained its complete development. I refer to John of 
Damascus, who flourished about the middle of the eighth 
century, and Thomas Aquinas, one of the great lights of 
the thirteenth. 

i See on this curious phenomenon, Dorner, Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. i. p. 
142; and Baur, die Lehre. von der Dreieinigkeit, vol. ii. pp. 87-92. Dorner and 
Baur agree in their view of the Agnostic controversy, and give the same reore 
6entation as that in the text. 



JO The Humiliation of Christ. 

John of Damascus carried the distinctness of the natures 
to its utmost limit, short of the recognition of two hypos- 
tases in the one Christ. He advocated the doctrine of two 
wills, on the ground that the faculty of willing is an 
essential attribute of rational natures. 1 The controversy 
concerning the two wills had arisen within the Church, and 
between the adherents to the Chalcedonian formula, because 
it was not self-evident to which of the two categories, the 
natures or the person, the will should be referred. Doubt 
on this point was very excusable, inasmuch as a good 
deal could be said on both sides. John recognises the 
legitimacy of such perplexity by virtually treating the will 
as a matter pertaining both to the natures and to the per- 
son. " To will," he says, " in the abstract — the will faculty is 
physical, but to will thus and thus is personal!"* There 
are two will faculties but only one wilier, the one Christ 
who wills according to both natures using the will faculty 
of each.* On the principle of conceding to each nature all 
its natural properties, John ascribes to the human will 
the faculty of self-determination {to avvtkov6iov)\ but this is 
very much a matter of form, for he represents the human 
soul of Christ as willing freely the things which the divine 
will wished it to will. 4 His doctrine, therefore, while 
dyothelitic in one respect, is monothelitic in another; the 
human will being in effect reduced to the position of a 
natural impulse of desire to do this, to shun that, to par- 
take of food, to sleep, etc., and entering only as a momentum 
into the one determining will of the one Christ. 6 

Recognising in the above fashion two wills, the Damas- 

1 De Duabus Voluntatibus, c. 22. 

5 De Duabus Voluntatibus, c. 24: BeXtjtixov Z&ov 6 avQpoonoS' to Se 
fjsXrjrov ov <pv6ixov fiovov , aXXd xoci yvco/tcixov, hcci v7ro6rariHov. 
'AXX ov itaS avOpcoTtoS go6<xvtgoS Oe'Xet, ovSs to ccvto' (Sots to r&5s 
fjt'Xsiv xaXooS rj xaxais, 7} to ti fte'Xeiv, to de, rj kxeivo, ov cpvdinov 
dXXd yvcojuixov, xal v7to6T<XTix6v. 

3 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. cap. xiv.: knsiBrj Toivovv eiS jitsv 6 Xpi6Toi 
nai uia avTov fj v7todTa6ii, eh xai 6 avToS e6tiv 6 QeXgov Bsiixg5s ts 
xa: arOtf 63777V &>;. 

* De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. xviii.: rj^eXs /xiv ai>T Ezov6icoi xivovlievt, 
r) tov Kvpiov ipvx??, dXX' kxeivct avTSzovdiaoi rjOsXs a f) Qsia avToi 
bc'XrjdiS tyjeXe Os'Xetv ocvTrjv. 

5 So Dorner, div. ii. vol. i. p. 210. 



The Patristic Christology. 7 x 

cene, carrying out the theory embodied in the phrase " oi 
two and in two distinct natures," asserts a duality in respect 
to everything pertaining to the nature of God and of man 
in common. Christ has all the things which the Father 
hath, except the property of being unbegotten; He has all 
the things which the first Adam had, except sin alone. 
Therefore He has two physical wills, two physical energies, 
two physical faculties of self-determination (avrs^ov^ia), two 
wisdoms and knowledges. 1 John even goes the length of 
conceding to Christ's humanity personality, but not separate 
independent personality: It was without hypostasis in itself, 
never having had an independent subsistence; but it became 
enhypostatized through union with the Logos. No nature, 
he admits, can be without hypostasis, nature apart from 
individuality being a mere abstraction; but then he holds 
that the two natures united in Christ do not necessarily 
possess separate hypostases; they may meet in one hypos- 
tasis, so that they shall neither be without hypostasis nor 
possess each a peculiar hypostasis, but have both one and 
the same. 2 In this way Christ becomes a human individual, 
and the person of Christ is to be regarded as composite,* 

Still, in spite of his efforts to make it formally complete, 
the humanity of Christ in the system of the Damascene re- 
mained a lifeless thing. The anatomical process to which 
the human nature was subjected left it an inanimate carcase 
with the form and features of a man, but without the inspir- 
ing soul. Already what Dorner happily calls the tran- 
substantiating process has begun, which was to evacuate 
Christ's humanity of all its contents, and leave only the 
outward shell with a God within. In several most im- 
portant respects, Christ, as exhibited in John's system, — the 
last important utterance of the Greek Church on the subject 
of Christology, — is not our brother, like us in all points 
save sin. At the very first stage of His incarnate history 
there is an ominous difference between Him and us. His 
body was not formed in the womb of the Virgin by gradual 



1 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. cap. xiii. 

8 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. ix. 

3 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. iii.: sis /uiav x>Tto6ra6iv (Si'ivBerov. 



j 2 The Humiliation of Christ. 

minute additions, but was perfected at once. 1 Then the 
soul of the holy child knew no growth in wisdom. Jesus is 
said to have increased in wisdom and stature; because He 
did indeed grow in stature, and because He made the mani- 
festation of the indwelling wisdom keep pace with that 
growth: 3 just the old doctrine of Cyril, who at this distance 
appears a saint, and is quoted without hesitation as an 
orthodox Father. Doubtless the flesh of our Lord was per 
sc ignorant; but then, in virtue of the identity of the hy- 
postasis and the indissoluble union, His soul was enriched 
with the knowledge of future things; 3 and to assert that it 
really grew in wisdom and grace, as receiving increment 
of these, is to deny that the union was formed ab initio — is 
to deny the hypostatic union altogether. If the flesh was 
truly united to Deity from the first moment of conception, 
and possessed hypostatic identity therewith, how could it 
fail to be perfectly enriched with all wisdom and grace ?' 
Of course temptation was not a very serious affair for such 
a Christ. He was tempted from without, apart from any 
internal suggestions, and He repelled and dissipated the 
assaults of the enemy like smoke? In like manner Christ 
had no personal need for prayer; He prayed simply as sus- 
taining our person and performing our part, asking what He 
did not need by way of example to us; teaching us to ask 
of God and to raise our souls to Him, and through His holy 
mind preparing a way for our ascent to the throne of grace. 6 
While carrying the formal doctrine of the distinction be- 
tween the natures to its utmost limits, John considered it 

1 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. ii.: ov ralS xazd fxixpov izpo6Q?}xaiS 
anapzi^oiiivov zov 6xr)nazoS' dXX' vcp tv zeXEiaabavroS. 

- De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. xxii.: zff /.iiv ?}Xixia avcoov, Sid Si zijS 
ccvir/6eooi zrjs rjXixiai xrjv kwxdpxov6av avzao 6o<piav sis q>avipoo6iv 
ayoov. 

;i De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. xxi.: Sid Si zrjv r?/5 vito<5zd6EooS zavzo- 
ryjza xai zrjv d.Sid6na6zov 'ivoo6iv 7TazE7cXovzr/dEv r) zov Kvpiov 
ipvxv zrjv tgov jueXXovzojv yvoodiv. 

4 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. xxii. 

5 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. xx.: a>J xanvov SieXv6ev. 

6 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. xxiv.: zo rjuszEpov otxEiovjUEVo? itpo6oo- 
Ttov, xai zvtkSv Iv savraj to ijuizEpov, xai vTtoypani/uoS r)ulv ysvo- 
uevoi, xai SiSa6xoov ?)/.<a? napa Heov airs.1v, xai npoS avzov dva- 
rtiveeOai, xai Sid zov dyiov avzov vov oSotzoiujv i/i.uv z?jv npoi 
irisov dva/jadiv. 



The Patristic Christology. j$ 

his duty to do what he could towards the establishment 
of a communion between the natures as asserted in the for- 
mula of Chalcedon. For this purpose he lays stress on the 
hypostatic union, the permeation of the human by the di- 
vine, 1 and the mutual communication of names which takes 
place between the natures. 2 The last-mentioned means of 
communion amounts to nothing more than the verbal com- 
munication of attributes taught by the Reformed Christolo- 
gy; but the second, the permeation (TtepixoSpt/ois), involves 
something approaching at least to the real communication 
of the Lutherans. To this permeation, as well as to the 
hypostatic union, is due the perfection in knowledge ab 
initio of the human soul of Christ already spoken of. Hence 
also it comes that the flesh of Christ is life-giving, and that 
the human will of Christ is omnipotent, though in itself 
limited in power. 3 These are instances in which the divini- 
ty communicates to the humanity its own glorious proper- 
ties, and by the communication in a manner deifies it. 

As in the Cyrillian and the Lutheran Christologies, so in 
the system of John, the communication of attributes is all 
on one side. There is no kind of communication by which 
the divine nature becomes partaker of the humiliation of 
humanity, corresponding to that by which the human na- 
ture becomes partaker of the glories of divinity. The di- 
vinity communicates to the body its proper virtues, but it 
remains non-participant in the sufferings of the flesh. 4 The 
Logos is indeed spoken of as appropriating to itself the hu- 
manities; but that is meant simply in the sense that the 
flesh and all its properties are connected with it personally.' 
For the divine nature in Christ, the words humiliation, ser- 
vice, suffering, have no real sense. Christ, we are told, was 

1 7tsptxoopr;6ii. 2 Tponoi riji avridodecoi, lib. iii. c. iii. 

3 De Fide OrlhodoxS, lib. iii. c. xviii. Contrasting the divine and human wills 
in Christ, John represents the former as without beginning, and omnipotent and 
apathetic; the latter, as having a beginning in time, subject to physical and sinless 
affections, and naturally not all-powerful, but having become truly and physically 
the property of God the Logos; it also is thereby rendered almighty. <yj de tov 
&eov \6yov aA?;Go35 uai ycazd <pv6iv yEvouevrj, xai 7ravTo8vrajuoS. 

* De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. xv.: Tgjv uiv ovv ovxeicov avx^udrcov 
f) Beozrji tc3 6oojuart jneradiSoodiv avrt/ Si tgov t%$ <5apx6i na f jr2i- 
diajtievsz df.iaroxoi. 

6 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. iii.: ointiovzai 8s ra <xv f }poJiziva. 6 ^ oyoS. 



74 The Humiliation of Christ. 

not a servant — to teach otherwise is to Nestorianize; all 
that we may say is, that the flesh of Christ per se, and con- 
ceived of as not united to the Word, was of servile nature. 1 
The relation of the Logos to the passion is illustrated by 
the metaphor of a tree on which the sun shines being cut 
down with an axe. The axe fells the tree, but it does no 
harm to the sunbeams; and so in like manner the divinity 
of the Logos, though united hypostatically to the flesh, re- 
mains impassible while the flesh suffers. 2 What a loose, in- 
adequate idea of the Incarnation is suggested by such a 
comparison ! The Logos in the humanity like the sun- 
light among the branches of an oak ! One is thrown back 
on the question whether, on such a conception of the Divine 
Being as is implied in the figure, an incarnation be possi- 
ble; and our doubts are deepened when we observe how 
John speaks of the great mystery of godliness in the open- 
ing chapter of the book which treats of the divine economy 
of the Incarnation. " Bending the heavens, He descends; 
that is, humbling without humiliation His majesty, which 
cannot be humbled, He descends to the level of His ser- 
vants, by a condescension inexpressible and inconceivable."' 
The practical import of this self-cancelling sentence is: the 
Scriptures teach that He who was in the form of God hum- 
bled Himself, and therefore we must teach likewise; but 
the thing taught is philosophically impossible. 

Passing now from John of Damascus to Thomas Aquinas, 
separated from the former by an interval of five centuries, we 
find that the lapse of time has brought along with it a great 
change indeed, but a change more in the method of treat- 
ment than in the substance of the doctrine. Many thoughts 
with which we have become familiar, through the writings 

1 De Fide Orthodox&, lib. iii. c. xxi.: dovXr] k6ziv fj 6dpz, si u?) rfvoaro 
rcZ Seg> Xoyep- anas 6e £VGo^ei6a xatf vit66za6iv, ndoS k(5rai SovXtj; 
eU y<xu dov 6 Xpi6r6s ov Svvazat fioLJ/l.o? eavrcv ".ivai xai KvpioS. 

■ De Fide Orthodoxd. lib. iii. c. xxvi.: Et yap riXiov SevSpao litiXduitoY- 
roS, rj oc:ivr) re/tiroi to SevSpov, a.Tj.ct]zoz v/» • ina%r>i fiiaurrEi o 
fjXioS, rroA/\<y uaXAov, x. r. X. 

3 De Fide Ortkodoxd, lib. iii. c. i.: KXivaS ovpavovS xaTspx ET<xv *ov- 
te6ti to d.Tcaizivu)Tov ai)Tov vipoi aTansivooToaZ Tantivoo6a<i, 6vy- 
xocTa/jaiyEi roFS 'eavTov SovXoiS 6vyxa.Ta.fia.6iv d<ppa6Tov tz xai 
dxaTocXr/TCTOv. 



The Patristic Cliristology. J 5 

of John, reappear in the pages of Thomas, the Eastern monk 
being, in fact, the chief Christological authority of the great 
Western scholastic. Three ideas, however, present them- 
selves to view in the Sinnma, which, if not entirely new in 
the history of the dogma, are developed in that work with 
a fulness which justifies us in connecting them with the name 
of its author. These ideas are: the conception of the Incar- 
nation as an incarnation, not of the divine nature, but of a 
divine person; the conception of the human nature of Christ 
as a recipient of grace; and the conception of Christ in His 
humanity as the Head of the Church. With respect to the 
first of these topics, the view of the Church had not before 
Thomas' time assumed a fixed form, as we learn from the 
sentences of Peter the Lombard, in which the vacillating state 
of opinion is faithfully reflected. Peter proposes for dis- 
cussion the question, Whether a person or a nature assumed 
humanity, and whether the nature of God was incarnated? 
and he answers the question by virtually allowing validity 
to both alternatives. " Desiring," he says, " to remove from 
the sacred pages every trace of falsehood and contradiction, 
we agree with orthodox Fathers and catholic doctors in 
saying both that the person of the Son assumed human 
nature, and that the divine nature was united to human na- 
ture in the Son, and united and assumed it to itself; on which 
account .the divine nature is truly said to be incarnate." ' 
Thomas, on the other hand, while allowing that the latter 
mode of putting the matter was not wholly inadmissible, 
pronounced in favor of the former alternative as the only ap- 
propriate way of stating the fact. 2 But what did he mean by 
taking up this position ? The view that the union exhibited 
in the Word Incarnate was made not in natnrd, but in persona, 
might be intended simply to serve the purpose of adjusting 
the doctrine of the Incarnation to the doctrine of the Trinity; 
the first and third persons of the Trinity being exempted 
from participating in the Incarnation, by the exclusion of 

1 Sentenliarwn, lib. iii. distinct, v.: Dicentes, et personam filii assumpsisse 
naturam humanam et naturam divinam humanae naturae in filio unitam, eamque 
sibi unisse vel assumpsisse, unde et vere incarnata dicitur. 

* Summa, pars iii. qu. ii. artt. i. ii. The questions are put thus: Utrum unio 
verbi incarnati sit fac'.i in natura. Utrum unio verbi incarnati sit facto in persona. 



76 The Humiliation of Christ. 

the common divine nature from all direct participation 
therein. Or the thesis might be designed to guard against 
monophysite confusion, and to affirm with the greatest 
possible emphasis the distinctness of the two natures of 
Christ within the personal unity. Or, finally, it is conceiv- 
able that the position in question might be laid down by 
one who meant to teach that the distinctive attributes of 
the divine nature, omniscience, omnipotence, etc., while 
still possessed by the divine person who became man, did 
not enter into the incarnate state, and reveal themselves in 
the incarnate life of the God-man. Now there can be no 
doubt that Thomas, in formulating his doctrine of the Incar- 
nation, had in view the former two of these three purposes; 1 
but there does not appear to be any good ground for ascrib- 
ing to him the idea of a double life of the Logos implied in 
the third hypothetical explanation of his meaning; though, 
of course, the question may be raised whether that idea be 
not a logical consequence of his theory. Dorner seems in- 
clined to think otherwise. He represents the significance 
of the Incarnation, in Thomas' view, as being limited to the 
fact that the divine person of the Son, as distinct from His 
divine nature, was inserted into the human nature; the 
divine personality standing, of course, in intimate connec- 
tion with its own nature, but not allowing any part of it to 
pass over into the human nature. This limitation, which 
he characterizes as remarkable, he represents as being made 
not merely for Trinitarian reasons, but also in order to 
render the problem of Incarnation an easier one, which in 
Dorner's judgment is equivalent to evading the problem 
in one essential particular, or even to letting it entirely 
fall. 2 Baur, on the other hand, recognises in Thomas' way 
of stating the Incarnation, simply the development of the 

Under quaestio iii. art. ii. he discusses the question, "Utrum divinae naturae 

conveniat assumere," stating as an objection that if it belonged to the nature to 

me, it would follow that it belonged to the three persons, and thus the Father 

would have assumed human nature as well as the Son. This objection he meets 

■ that the divine nature is the principium assumptionis, but not itself the 

terminus assumptionis. Esse terminum assumptions non convenit naturae divinae 

secundum seipsum, sed ratione personae in qua consideratur. Et ideo primo quidem 

me persona dicitur assumere. 

? Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. i. pp. 331, 332. 



The Patristic Christology. 77 

ecclesiastical doctrine, that in Christ two natures, distinct 
in themselves, and remaining distinct after the union, were 
united in one person. 1 According to this view, the more 
correct one, as it appears to me, the new element in Aquinas' 
formula was not the promulgation of a new theory, but 
simply a greater measure of strictness in adapting the form 
of expression to the established theory. The sense in 
which Aquinas meant his thesis to be understood, may be 
gathered from the use to which he puts it in solving prob- 
lems respecting the knowledge and the power possessed 
by Christ's human soul. Thus the question, Had Christ 
any knowledge besides the divine ? is decided in the affirm- 
ative, because the union affected only the personal being, 
and knowledge belongs to the person only in virtue of its 
being an attribute of one or other of the natures. Duality 
of knowledge therefore follows from the duality of natures, 
unless we mutilate the human nature, and deprive it of an 
attribute which it possesses in all other men. 2 The ques- 
tion whether Christ's soul possessed the particular species 
of knowledge called the knowledge of the blessed, is an- 
swered affirmatively by the application of the same prin- 
ciple; the objection, that a knowledge which the saints 
have by participation in the divine light cannot be ascribed 
to a being who, as divine, had not His light by participa- 
tion, but as an essential attribute of His indwelling divinity, 
being disposed of by the remark that divinity was united to 
the humanity of Christ as to the person, not as to the 
essence or nature, and that with the unity of the person the 
distinction of natures remains. The consequence is, that 
the soul of Christ, which is a part of the human nature, is, 
by a certain light borrowed from the divine nature, per- 
fected unto the blessed knowledge whether God is seen as 
He is.* Once more the question, whether the soul of Christ 

1 Die Christliche Lehre von der Dreieinigkeit und Mens chwer dung Gottes, 
Zweite Theil, p. 795. 

* Pars tertia, quaest. ix. art. i.: Ex parte ipsius unionis non potest poni in Christo 
aliqua scientia. Nam unio ilia ad esse personale, scientia autem non convenit 
personae nisi ratione alicujus naturae. 

3 Quaest. ix. art. ii. The question is: Utrum Christus habuerit scientiam quara 
habent beati vel comprehensores. In favour of the negative, Thomas conceives 
the following argument as being advanced: Scientia beatorum est per participati- 



78 The Humiliation of Christ. 

had absolute omnipotence, is decided in the negative; be- 
cause in the mystery of the Incarnation the union is so made 
in the person that the distinction of natures remains, each 
nature retaining that which is proper to itself. 1 It is easy 
to see from these examples that Thomas' way of stating 
the doctrine of the Incarnation really amounted to little 
more than the formula, that in Christ two distinct natures 
were united in one person. In the Text lecture we shall 
find the same mode of stating the aoctrine reappearing in 
the Reformed Christology in the same interest, i.e. as a 
means of emphasizing and guarding the distinctness of the 
united natures. 

Passing to the second of the three thoughts character- 
istic of the Christological system set forth in the Summa, 
the conception of Christ as the recipient of grace, Thomas 
divided the grace conferred into two parts, — the grace of 
union, that is, the honour bestowed upon the human nature 
of the Incarnate Son of God in being united to divinity, 
and habitual grace. He deemed it necessary to ascribe to 
Christ the latter sort of grace for three reasons. First, 
because His soul was united to the Logos, it being evident 
that the nearer anything of a receptive nature is to a source 
of influence, the more it must participate of its influence. 
Second, on account of the nobility of that soul whose activ- 
ities behoved to come as near as possible to God in knowl- 
edge and love, for which end the human nature needed to 
be elevated by grace. Third, on account of Christ's re- 
lation as man to the human race, that viz. of Mediator, 
which required Him to have grace in Himself that it might 
overflow from Him to others. 2 But a previous question 

onera divini luminis secundum illud, Ps. xxxvi. 10. In famine tito videbimus lumen. 
Sed Christus non habuil lumen divinum lanquam participatum, sed ipsam divini- 
tatem in se habuit substantialiter manentem. To which he replies: Divinitas unita 
est humanitati Christi secundum personam non secundum essentiam vel naturam; 
sed cum unitate personae remanet distinctio naturarum. Et ideo anima Christi, 
quae est pars humanae naturae, per aliquod lumen participatum a nalura divina 
perfecta est ad scientiam beatam qua Ueus per essentiam videtur. 

1 Quaest. xiii. art. i. : In mysterio incarnationis ita facta est unio in persona, 
quod tamen remansit distinctio naturarum utraque scilicet natura retinente id quod 
silii est proprium . . . Cum igitur anima Christi sit pars humanae naturae, im- 
| - lile est quod omnipotentiam habeat. 

- Par 3 iii. quaest. vii. (De Gratia Christi, prout est quidam singulans homo) art. u 



The Patristic Christology. 79 

naturally arises, viz., Was not the communication of hab- 
itual grace rendered superfluous by the fact of union ? and 
a little consideration suffices to satisfy us that the idea of 
such a communication has for its presupposition a very 
emphatic assertion of the distinctness of the natures within 
the union. Accordingly, we find that Thomas disposes of 
this very objection by falling back on the distinction. 
Having stated as an argument against ascribing to Christ 
habitual grace, that He is God, not participatively, but 
according to truth, he disposes of it by saying that Christ 
is true God as to His person and His divine nature; but 
inasmuch as with the unity of the person the distinction 
of natures remains, the soul of Christ is not by its essence 
divine, and therefore it can become divine only as believers 
do, viz. by participation, which is according to grace. 1 The 
communication of grace, that is to say, is to be regarded in 
the light of a corollary from that view of Christ's person 
which emphasizes the distinctness of the natures; just as 
the communication of properties is a corollary from that 
view of Christ's person which allows the distinction to be 
eclipsed by the unity. This remark will prepare us to un- 
derstand how it came to pass that the Reformed Christol- 
ogists espoused the former of these ideas, as taught by 
Thomas; while the Lutheran Christologists, on the other 
hand, patronized the latter, and the kindred notion of 
physical pervasion as taught by John of Damascus. 

Aquinas represented Christ as being a recipient of grace 
in a double capacity; as a singular man, and as the Head 
of the Church; the grace being in both cases the same as to 
essence, differing solely as to the ground and reason of 
communication. 2 This conception of Christ as the head of 
the Church is the third prominent idea in the Christology 

1 Pars iii. quaest. vii. art. i. The objection is: Gratia est quaedam participatio 
divinitatis in creatura rationali secundum illud, 2 Petri i. 3. Per quern maxima 
et pretiosa promissa nobis donavit ut divinae simus consortes naturae. And the 
reply: Christus est verus Deus sec. personam et naturam divinam. Sed quia cum 
unitate personae remanet distinctio naturarum anima Christi non est per suam es- 
sentiam divina. Unde oportet quod fiat divina per participalionem quae est sec. 
gratiam. 

2 Quaestio viii. (De Gratia Christi, prout est caput Ecclesiae) art. v.: Eadem 
est sec. essentiam gratia personalis qua anima Christi est justificata, et gratia ejus, 
sec. quam est caput ecclesiae justificans alios; differt tamen sec. rationem. 



80 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of the great schoolman, well characterized by Baur as one 
of those in which he rises above the dry formalism of the 
scholastic theology. 1 The Christological value of this idea, 
as of the one preceding, lies in the implied assertion of the 
likeness of Christ in all essential respects to His brethren. 
While as the Head, exalted above all, He is still the rep- 
resentative of a mystical body, to whom He stands in the 
relation of Primus inter pares. This is not indeed the 
aspect of the truth emphasized by Aquinas; for what he 
insists on is rather the superiority than the similitude. 
Christ is head, according to the analogy of the human 
head, in respect of order, perfection, and virtue. As the 
head of a human body is the first part of man beginning 
from above, so Christ as to the grace of nearness to God is 
first and highest; as to the head of the human body belongs 
the perfection of containing within itself all the senses 
external and internal, while in the other members is the 
sense of touch alone, so Christ is perfect as possessing the 
plenitude of all graces; and as the powers, motion, and 
government of all the members of the body are centred 
in the head, so Christ has the power to pour grace into 
all the members of the Church; and on all these accounts 
He is properly called the Head of the Church. 2 Still, it 
must be observed, all this superiority is ascribed to Christ 
as man. To an objection based on a sentence from Au- 
gustine which seems to teach a contrary opinion, Thomas 
replies, that while to give grace or the Holy Spirit belongs 
to Christ as God authoritatively, it also belongs to Him- as 
man instrumentally, inasmuch as His humanity was the 
instrument of His divinity. 3 Another objection taken to 
the applicability of the figure, from the fact that the head 
is a particular member receiving influence from the heart, 
while Christ is the universal principle of the whole Church, 
he disposes of thus: The head has a manifest eminence 
compared with the other members; but the heart has a 
certain secret influence. Therefore the Holy Spirit, who 
invisibly vivifies and unites the Church, is compared to the 
heart; but Christ is compared to the head, as to His visible 

1 Dreieinigkeit, ii. p. 802. 

s Quaestio viii. art. i. (Utrum Christum sit caput Ecclesiae). 3 Quaestio viii. art. i. 



The Patristic Christology. 81 

nature, as a man is set over other men. 1 As a man over 
other men, therefore, is Christ Head of the Church; so that 
while His Headship implies supremacy, it no less clearly 
implies fraternity. 

From the foregoing exposition it will have appeared that 
the three ideas characteristic of the Christological system 
set forth in the Summa all point in one direction, that, namely, 
of the emphatic assertion of the homoilsia taught in our 
seventh axiom: Christ in all possible respects, both in His 
human nature and in His human experience, like unto His 
brethren. But on looking into other parts of that system, 
we find that what is given with one hand is taken back 
again by the other. The Christ of Aquinas is after all not 
our brother, not a man, but only a ghastly simulacrum. In 
many most important respects He is not like the members 
of His mystical body. Not to speak of His material part, 
which, according to the author of the Summa, was perfectly 
formed from the first moment of conception, and born 
without pain; 2 the soul of Christ differed from ours to an 
extent which makes us feel that between Him and us there 
is little in common. Recipient of grace in all its plenitude, 
the soul of Jesus was without the two cardinal graces of 
faith and hope; because, forsooth, the possession of these, 
while in one respect a merit, is in another a defect. 3 The 
gifts of knowledge, on the other hand, imparted to Christ 
as a man, made the gulf between Him and us, already too 
wide, wider still. His soul possessed at once the knowl- 
edge of the blessed, the knowledge which comes through 
innate ideas, and the knowledge which comes through the 
senses; the first consisting in the perfect vision of God and 

1 Quaestio viii. art. i. : Capiti autem comparatur ipse Christus sec. visibilem nat- 
uram, sec. quam homo hominibus praefertur. 

- Quaestio xxxiii. (De modo et ordine conceptions Christi) art. i. (Utrum corpus 
Chnsti fuerit formatum in primo instanti conceptions ?) The answer is: In prim.> 
instanti quo materia adunata pervenit ad locumlgenerationis fuit perfecte formatum 
corpus Christi, et assumptum. The painless birth is taught under quaestio xxxv. 
(De nativitate Christi) art. vi.: Christus est egressus ex clauso utero matris, et 
propter hoc in illo partu nullus fuit dolor sicut nee aliqua corruptio; sed fuit ibi 
maxima jucunditas. To the arguments in favour of the contrary position, that 
it behoved Christ's life to begin as it ended, with pain, and that the pain of birth 
was a part of the curse, Aquinas replies that the pain was the mother's, not the 
child's, and that Christ took on Him death voluntarily, not as under necessary sub 
jection to the curse. 3 Quaestio vii. (De gratia Christi) art. lii. and iv. 



82 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of all things in the mirror of the Logos, infinite in the sense 
of embracing all reality though not all possibility, and com- 
plete from the moment of conception, admitting of no 
growth, and rendering the knowledge gradually acquired 
through the senses, one would say, superfluous, as the moon 
is superfluous in presence of the sun, and causing the very 
faculty for acquiring experimental knowledge to degenerate 
into a mere rudimentary organ dwarfed by disuse. 1 This 
picture of a humanity which is inhuman, or at all events 
unearthly, receives the finishing touch in the doctrine that 
Christ, even in the days of His humiliation, was a compreJien- 
sor a.s well as a viator- — one, that is, who had already reached 
the goal, as well as one hastening on toward it, and as such 
could not increase in grace or in knowledge, being perfect 
from the first; nor in felicity, save by deliverance from the 
passibility to which His body and the lower part of His soul 
were subject previous to the resurrection ; and could not know 
at all by experience what it is to walk by faith, and to be sup- 
ported under trial by hope. How can such a Christ as this 
succour us when are tempted ? How can one so little ac- 
quainted with suffering be a perfect Captain of salvation ? 
The author of the Summa indeed pleads on behalf of his the- 
ory, that the goal to which men are to be conducted being the 
beatific vision, and the medium through which they are con- 
ducted being the humanity of Christ, it was meet that the 
Captain should possess what the army led are destined to at- 
tain, seeing that the cause should always be more powerful 
than the object on which it exerts its force. 3 But the argu- 
ment overlooks the fact that Christ's present power is de- 
rived in great measure from His earthly weakness, and that 
whilst it did certainly behove Him to enter into glory in 
order to become the Author of salvation, it not less cer- 
tainly behoved Him to be perfected by an experience as 
like as possible to our present condition. It was reserved 
for another age and for other theological teachers to give 
the due prominence to this great truth. 

1 Quaestio ix. (De scientia Christi in communi) art. i.-iv., quaestion. x.-xii. 

» Quaestio xv. (De defectibus animae a Christo assumptis) art. x. The term 
C0»iprehensor is derived from the two texts, I Cor. ix. 24, sic currite ut compre- 
hendatis, and Phil. iii. 12. sequor autem, si quo modo comprehendam. 

3 Pars tertia, quaestio ix. art. ii. : Semper causam oportet esse potiorem causato. 



LECTURE III. 

THE LUTHERAN AND REFORMED CHRISTOLOGIES. 

In the sixteenth century, memorable on so many other 
accounts in the annals of the Church, Christology passed 
into a new phase. Only a few years after the commence- 
ment of the Reformation, there arose a dispute on the sub- 
ject of Christ's person, which continued without intermis- 
sion for a century, producing in its course a separation of 
the German Protestants into two rival communions, distin- 
guished by the names Lutheran and Reformed, and even giv- 
ing rise to bitter internal contentions between the members 
of that section of the German Church which claimed Luther 
for its founder and father. The long, obstinate, and in its 
results unhappy controversy, originated in what to us may 
appear a very small matter — a difference of opinion between 
Luther and Zuingli as to the nature of Christ's presence in 
the sacrament of the Supper. Zuingli maintained that the 
Redeemer was present spiritually only, and solely for those 
who believe, — the bread and wine being simply emblems of 
His b' -Ken body and shed blood, aids to faith, and stimu- 
lants ,o grateful remembrance. Luther vehemently as- 
serted that the body of the Saviour was present in the Sup- 
per, in, with, and under the bread, and was eaten both by 
believers and by unbelievers; by the former to their benefit, 
by the latter to their hurt. It is easy to see what questions 
must arise out of such a diversity of view. If Christ's body 
be present in the Supper, then it must be ubiquitous; but is 
this attribute compatible with the nature of body, with the 
ascension of the risen Lord into heaven, with His session 
at the right han4 of God, with the promise of His second 



84 The Humiliation of Christ. 

coming ? and how did the body of Christ come by this mar- 
vellous attribute ? was it an acquisition made subsequently 
to the exaltation, a characteristic feature in the state of 
heavenly glory conferred on Christ as the reward of His vol- 
untary humiliation on earth ? or did the humanity of the 
Incarnate One possess the quality of omnipresence before 
the ascension or the resurrection, nay, even from the first, 
from the moment of conception, the necessary result, per- 
haps, of the union of the divine and human natures in one 
person, involving the communication to the inferior nature 
not merely of ubiquity, but of all the august attributes of 
the superior nature ? Supposing this last position to be 
taken up, then the further question arises: How is such a 
humanity, invested with all that belongs to divine majesty, 
to be reconciled with the facts of Christ's earthly history, 
with His birth and growth in wisdom; with His localization 
in different places at different times; with His weakness, 
temptations, and death ? Such, in fact, were the questions 
discussed with more or less clearness and fulness by the 
combatants in all the stages of the great controversy; with 
this difference, that in the first stage, that in which Luther 
himself and his opponents Zuingli, CEcolampadius, and 
Carlstadt were the disputants, the contention was mainly 
confined to the doctrine of the Supper itself, and the single 
attribute of ubiquity; while in the second stage, from Brentz 
to the Formula of Concord, the debate widened into a dis- 
cussion of the person of Christ, and the consequences of the 
union of the two natures in that person, with a view to a 
firm Christological basis for the doctrine of the Supper; and 
in the third and last stage, that of the Giessen-Tiibingen 
controversy (internal to the Lutheran Church) the leading 
subject was the earthly humiliation of Christ, the aim being 
to adjust Lutheran Christological theories to historical 
facts. The final result of the whole controversy on the 
Lutheran side was the formation of a doctrine concerning 
the person of Christ so artificial, unnatural, and incredible, 
that any difficulty one may at first experience in under- 
standing the Lutheran position, arises not from want of 
clearness in the writers, but from the slowness of a mind 
not familiar with the svstem to take in the idea that men 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 85 

could seriously believe and deliberately teach what their 
words seem plainly enough to 6ay. The Christology of the 
Lutheran Church to an outsider wears the aspect of a vast 
pyramid resting in a state of most unstable equilibrium on 
its apex, Christ's bodily presence in the Supper; which 
again rests upon a water-worn pebble, — the word of insti- 
tution, " This is my body," easily susceptible of another 
simple and edifying meaning, — the pyramid being upheld 
solely by the strong arms of theological giants, and tum- 
bling into irretrievable ruin so soon as the race of the 
Titans died out. 1 

In making these general observations, I regard the 
Lutheran Christology as one great whole, distinguished by 
certain broadly marked characteristics from the rival Chris- 
tology of the Reformed Confession. On closer inspection, 
however, we find that the former of the two Christologies 
resolves itself into two distinct types, which made their 
appearance at a very early period, and reproduced them- 
selves throughout the whole course of the century during 
which the dogma was a subject of active controversy. The 
two types may be designated, from the names of their first 
expositors, as the Brentian and the Chemnitzian; the former 
being the more extreme, bold, and logical form of the 
theory; the latter, the more moderate, timid, and rational. 
Both started from the principle that the personal union of 
the two natures necessarily involved the communication to 
Mie human nature of divine attributes; but they differed in 
their use of the common premiss. Brentz and his followers 
reasoned out the principle to its last results, regardless of 
consequences. The Chemnitzian school, on the other hand 
having some fear of facts before their eyes, applied the 
common assumption in a half-hearted manner, the result 
being a system less consistent but also less absurd; illog- 
ical, but just on that account nearer the truth. We shali 
form to ourselves the clearest idea of the Lutheran Chris- 
tology as a whole, and put ourselves in a position for un- 
derstanding the doctrine of the Formula of Concord, b\ 
making ourselves acquainted with the distinctive peculiar- 

1 On the connection between the Lutheran Christology and the Sacramentarian 
controversy, see Appendix, Note A. 



86 The Humiliation of Christ. 

ities of these two schools; and therefore I propose here to 
give a brief account of the views of their founders — John 
Brentz, the friend of Luther and reformer of Wurtemberg, 
and Martin Chemnitz of Brunswick, a disciple of Melanch- 
thon, best known by his work on the Council of Trent. 

The Christological views of Brentz are contained in a 
series of treatises collected together in the eighth volume 
of his works, published at Tubingen in 1590. His funda- 
mental position in reference to the person of Christ is this: 
Although the natures or substances are altogether diverse, 
and have each their own peculiar idioms or properties, 
nevertheless these same substances are conjoined in such a 
union that they become one inseparable hypostasis, sup- 
positum or person, and their respective properties are 
mutually communicated so familiarly, that whatever is a 
property of either nature is appropriated by the other to 
itself. 1 The two natures, that is to say, are not merely 
united in one person, the Ego tying together two alto- 
gether dissimilar substances still continuing dissimilar; 
they are united into one person, their union constituting 
the person, and involving ipso facto a. communication of 
their respective properties. The Reformed idea, as con- 
sisting in a mere sustentation of the humanity by the 
Logos, Brentz repudiated as not a personal union at all, 
but merely a common union such as God may form with 
any man. The difference between Christ and Peter, he 
held, arose not from the sustentation or inhabitation of 
the man Jesus by the Son of God, but from the communi- 
cation to Him of the divine properties of the latter. The 
Son of God, though He fills Peter with His essence, as He 
fills the man Christ, does not communicate to Peter all 
His properties, but only some. He vivifies Peter, keeps 
him in life, gives him the power of casting out devils, yea, 
of raising the dead; but He does not make him omnipotent, 
omniscient, omnipresent. The Son of man, assumed from 
the Virgin, on the contrary, He adorns not with some only, 
but with all His gifts, and communicates to Him all His 
properties. The qualification " as far as He is capable " 
cannot be allowed; Christ was made capable of all divine 

1 De Personali unione duarum naturarutn in Chris to. Opera, vol. viii. p. 84 1 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 87 

properties, without any exception; if He had not such 
capacity, there would be no difference between Him and 
other men, nor could the Word become incarnate. 1 

At first Brentz showed a disposition, following the ex- 
ample of Luther, to apply his fundamental thesis impar- 
tially to both sides of the composite person, and to make 
the divine nature appropriate human properties, as well as 
the human nature divine properties. 2 And there was no 
reason d priori why this should not be done, for it is surely 
just as possible for the Infinite to become partaker of the 
finite and its properties, as for the finite to become partaker 
of the Infinite. But Brentz apparently soon found out that 
to apply his principle both ways would be either to reduce 
the communication of properties, on which so much stress 
was laid, to the alloiosis of Zuingli, which drove Luther 
mad with rage, or, in case the communication was held to 
be real, to make either nature swallow up the other in turn; 
therefore in his later works he quietly ignored one side and 
worked out his theory solely on the other side, that, viz., 
of the appropriation by the human nature of the properties 
characteristic of the divine nature. 

In the working out of his theory Brentz exhibits at once 
great boldness and no small amount of dialectical skill; 
shrinking from no legitimate inference, and at the same 
time doing his utmost to answer or obviate objections, 
though sometimes with very indifferent success. He is 
careful to explain that in the person of Christ neither 
nature is changed into the other, but both remain inviolate 



1 De Majestate Domini Nostri Jesn Christi ad Dextra.7n Dei Patris, et De 
Vera Praesentia corporis et sanguinis ejus in Coena, pp. 898-9. This work was 
a reply to Peter Martyr and Henry Bullinger, Cingliani dogmatis de Coena Do- 
minica propugnatorious, and it is sadly disfigured by the asperities too common in 
theological controversy. 

2 De Personali unione, p. 839: Nos autem intelligimus in hac materia per idio- 
mata, non tantum vocabularum, sed etiam rerum proprietates: ut cum per com- 
municationem idiomatum de Christo dicimus, Deum esse passum et mortuum, non 
sit sententia, quod Deus verbum dicatur tantum sermone vocabuli pati et mori, 
res autem ipsa nihil prorsus ad Deum pertineat, sed quod Deus, etsi natura sua nee 
patitur, nee moritur, tamen passionem et mortem Christi ita sibi communem faciat, 
ut propter hyposteticam unionem passioni, et morti personaliter adsit, et non aliter, 
Ut sic dicam, afheiatur quam si ipse pateretur et moreretnr. 



88 The Humiliation of Christ. 

and in possession of their essential properties. 1 There is 
no cxaequation of the humanity to the divinity. The for- 
mer is indeed declared to be omnipotent, omnipresent, 
etc.. but it is not declared to be omnipotence itself. Of 
God alone is this affirmed; the humanity possesses only a 
communicated divinity, and is made equal to God not in 
being (ov6ia), but in authority (t£ovdia).* But if each na- 
ture retains its essential properties, the question at once 
arises, in reference to the humanity, what are its essential 
properties ? Is to be in a particular place, e.g., one of them ? 
and if so, how is the retention of that property to be re- 
conciled with omnipresence ? At first Brentz seems to 
have been doubtful what position to take up on this point; 
for, in a passage near the commencement of his earliest 
treatise, that on the personal union, he remarks: "If you 
say that to be in place is so proper to body that it cannot 
be separated from it, let us suppose meantime that this is 
in its own way true, yet it cannot be denied that what is 
impossible to nature is not only possible but easy to divine 
power." 3 It was not absolutely necessary that he should 
call in question the position of his opponents in reference 
to the nature of body, for it was open to him to follow the 
course adopted by Luther, and to maintain the possibility 
of body existing in two different ways at the same time; 
locally, here or there in space; and illocally, everywhere. 
This course, in point of fact, he did follow, as we shall see; 

1 De Personali unione, p. 837. 

2 De Incarnatione Christi, p. 1001: Non igitur exaequamus humanitatem 
Christi divinitati ovti/a seel tantum lc,ov(5ia. 

3 De Personali unione, p. 837. It must be stated, however, that in the imme- 
diately preceding sentence Brentz says: "In loco esse non sit corporis substantia, 
•sed tantum proprietas substantiae accidentaria." In the paragraph preceding 

that in which these words occur, he quotes the sentence of Augustine: " Tolle 
spatia locorum corporibus, nusquam erunt, et quia nusquam erunt, non erunt, " 
and remarks that he is aware that the things which are said concerning the ma- 
jesty of Christ seem very absurd to human reason, and plainly impossible; but the 
hypostatic union of most diverse natures is taught in Scripture, and therefore, 
though the absurdity of absurdities, must be believed; and this greatest absurdity 
being once accepted, many other things which appear absurd to human intellect 
follow of course. This defiant attitude towards reason and philosophy pervades 
Brentz' writings. In one place, however, he claims philosophy as on his side, 
on the question whether to be in loco be es-ential to body. See De Div. Maj es- 
tate, p. 934. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 89 

but he did not rely solely on that line of argument, but, 
moreover, boldly took up the position from which, as it 
appears, he at first shrunk, that to be in loco is after all 
not an essential attribute, but only an accident of body. 
This view underlies all his representations of the invisible 
world. Brentz ridicules the Zuinglian conception of heaven 
as a certain place not on this earth, but distant and far 
removed from it, distinct also from the visible lower 
heavens, not everywhere, but situated above the clouds, 
and above this corruptible world, yea, above all heavens, 
in excelsis, the house of the Father, the abode and seat of 
Christ and His elect, an abode happy, divine, eternal, im- 
mense, splendid, spiritual, corporeal, having spaces, and 
these most spacious, in which they walk, sit, stand, and, 
" for aught I know, recline, for this is not expressly stated." l 
Heaven is, in his view, simply a state separated from hell, 
not by space, but by disposition and condition; heaven 
being where God is known in the majesty of His grace, 
and hell where He is known in the majesty of His severity.* 
Going to heaven means going to the Father, who is the 
Locus of His people, their all in all, the all-including lo- 
cality; their heaven, earth, place, food, drink, as well as 
their justice, wisdom, virtue, gladness, joy, and beatitude. 3 
The mansions spoken of by Christ to His disciples 4 are 
purely spiritual. 5 It is not, indeed, absolutely to be denied 
that there is a certain place of beatitude in which Christ 
dwells with His saints, but the question is whether the place 
be such a place as Zuinglians contend for, — superficies cor- 
poris continentis — Locus circumscriptus, — in other words 
(ours, not Brentz'), whether it be, properly speaking, a 
place at all. 6 For, in truth, both space and time, as un- 

' De Divina Maj estate Christi, p. 947: . . . Locus certus ... in quibus lo- 
caliter itur, sedetur, statur, et ambulatur; atque haud scio, num etiam ibi jaceatur 
hoc enim non invenio additum. 2 De Ascensu Christi in Coelum, pp. 1040-47. 

s Ibid. p. 1067: Cum igitur Deus erit in nobis Omnia, eerie erit nostrum coelum, 
nostra terra, noster locus, etc. Vid. also De Div. Maj. p. 959. 

4 John xiv. 2; on which Bullinger wrote a treatise, the aim of which was to 
show that heaven was a definite locality, the abode of Christ and His people. 

5 De Ascensu Christi in Coelum, p. 1046. 

* De Sessione Christi ad dextra??i Dei, p. 1076. Brentz shows manifest siens 
of distress here: De hoc controvertitur; num beatitudinis locus sit talis, Talis 



90 The Humiliation of Christ. 

derstood in this world, are to be destroyed in heaven, burnt 
up in the great conflagration which shall usher in the new 
heavens and the new earth, wherein shall be not space and 
time, but righteousness. 1 The right hand of God means 
the omnipotence and majesty of God. The session of 
Christ at the right hand of God signifies His being crowned 
with glory and honour, having all things subject to Him, 
possessing all power in heaven and on earth. 2 It has no 
relation to place; on the contrary, space is one of the things 
put under Christ's feet; for place has a name and body has 
a name, and it is written that He is to be placed above 
everything that has a name in this world. 3 Christ's glorified 
body has no form, if by form be meant external figure or 
appearance; it has only the power of assuming such a form 
at will by way of economy, as when Christ appeared to 
Stephen and Paul, and as He shall appear at His second 
coming. The body of the exalted Lord is not in heaven 
with wound-prints in the hands [cicatricibtis in manibus), 
it retains only the essence of body (whatever that maybe); 
its form is incomprehensible, inconceivable, intolerable to 
mortal men/ And the same thing holds true of the bodies 
of the saints. They shall have no more to do with space 
and time than the angels to whom, the Lord taught, the 
glorified shall be equal. They shall still be true bodies as 
to essence; but for the rest they shall be altogether spirit- 
ual, without visible figure. Such an account of the spiritual 
^ody excites curiosity to know what the essence of body 
as distinct from spirit may be; and one naturally inquires 
what becomes of the resurrection on these terms. Our 
author assures us that it still remains, — not without indig- 
nation at those who ventured to insinuate that his theory 
left no place for it; but his assurance does not dispel our 
doubts. 5 Once more, in view of this sublimating process, 
intended to make room for the doctrine of ubiquity, one 
not unnaturally inquires, Are all spiritual bodies then 

inquam, qualem, etc. The talis in large capitals betrays the irritation of a dispu- 
tant at his wits' end. 

1 De Ascensu Chrisli in Caelum, p. 1048. 

2 De Divina Maj estate y p. 920, and in many other places. 

3 Ibid. pp. 913, 914. •» Ibid. pp. 930, 1047, 1081, 109I. 
6 De Sessione, r>. 1092. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 91 

ubiquitous, those of the saints as well as that of Christ ? 
Brentz himself asks the question; but his reply is far from 
satisfactory: " Let us," he says, " not be solicitous at pres- 
ent, and in this life, concerning the state of the saints in 
the world to come; but give Christ His own peculiar ma- 
jesty, more excellent than all that can be named, and join 
His saints to Him." 1 

The foregoing views of the invisible world, and of the con- 
ditions of existence there, might be available, as they were 
actually used by Brentz, to meet objections to the doctrine 
of ubiquity drawn from the hypothesis of a localized heaven 
to which the glorified body of Christ is confined; 2 but they 
are manifestly inadequate to the task of reconciling the 
attribute of ubiquity, supposed to be communicated to 
Christ's humanity by the personal union, with the conditions 
of existence on earth. Whatever be the nature of our Lord's 
glorified body, it is certain at all events that His earthly 
body had a local existence. How then did Brentz seek to 
secure, as his theory required, even for the earthly body the 
attribute of ubiquity ? As Luther had done before him, 3 

1 De Divina Majestate Christi, p. 959. 

2 Thomasius [Person und IVerk, ii. 358) animadverts on a statement made by 
Heppe ( Geschichte des Deutschen Protestantistnus), that Brentz did not derive the 
doctrine of ubiquity from the union of the natures, but from the full entrance of 
'.he exalted man Christ into the glory of God, and from the session of the Son of 
God at the right hand of the Father, as one which the slightest acquaintance with 
Brentz' writings shows to be the direct contrary of the actual fact. Heppe is cer- 
tainly grossly in error; but his error lies not in what he affirms, but in what he 
denies. The truth is, Brentz based his doctrines of ubiquity both on the personal 
union, and on the nature of Christ's glorified body, and of spiritual bodies in general. 

5 Luther, after the Scholastics, distinguished three ways in which a thing could 
be in place: localiter or circumscriptive, definitive, and repletive. Localiter, as 
when place and bodies correspond; as wine in a vessel takes no more space, and 
the vessel gives no more space, than the quantity of wine requires. Definitive, 
when a thing is in a particular place, but cannot be measured by the space of 
the place, taking more or less room at will, as in the case of angels, who can be 
either in a house or a nutshell. Repletive, when a thing is at the same time 
wholly in all places, filling all places, and yet is measured and contained by no 
place. This third way belongs to God alone. All three ways of being were, ac- 
cording to Luther, possible for Christ's body. The first it had on earth when it 
took and gave space according to its dimensions; the second when it rose out of 
the grave through the stone at the mouth of the sepulchre and passed through 
closed doors; the third it had and has in virtue of personal union with the omni- 
present God. Bekenntniss vom Abendmahl Christi, Luther's Sammtliche Werke, 
30M Band, Erlangen ed. pp. 207-217. 



92 The Humiliation of Christ. 

viz., by conceiving of the ubiquity as ILLOCAL, and main- 
taining the co-existence simultaneously in Christ of two 
ways of being — a local existence here or there in space, and 
an illocal, omnipresent being in the Logos to which the 
humanity was united. He admitted frankly that local 
ubiquity could not be predicated of Christ's humanity either 
on earth or in heaven. " I am not ignorant," he says, 
" that certain of the ancients disapproved of this saying: 
the humanity of Christ is everywhere. I myself would dis- 
approve of it if by this word (ubique) locality were signi- 
fied. Let us therefore docendi gratia posit a threefold 
ubiquity — viz. a local, a repletive, and a personal. Now 
there is nothing whatever, either spiritual or corporeal, 
which is everywhere by a local ubiquity; but God alone by 
His nature is everywhere by a repletive ubiquity. And 
after the Son of God united to Himself humanity, it neces- 
sarily follows that that humanity, assumed into the unity 
of one person by the Son of God, is everywhere by a person- 
al ubiquity." 1 This distinction between a local and a 
personal ubiquity — or, as it was afterwards epigrammati- 
cally expressed, between a ubiquity in loco and a ubiquity 
in Logo" — being allowed, the combination of an omnipres- 
ent manner of existence with the limitations of earthly life 
becomes easy. It can be said at once, as Brentz does say, 
that Christ was confined within the Virgin's womb, and 
filled the whole world; 3 that when He was in Bethany 
about to ride on an ass into Jerusalem, He was at the same 
moment in the Holy City and the Praetorium; 4 that at the 
institution of the Holy Supper He sat circumscriptively in 
one certain place at the table, and at the same time gave 
to His disciples His own true body in the bread to be eat- 
en, and His own true blood in the wine to be drunk. 5 

It will readily be seen that a theory which, to maintain 
its consistency, did not shrink from such positions as these, 
was not likely to find any insuperable difficulty in ascribing 

1 De Personali unione, p. 842. 

2 See Thomasius, ii. 418, on Aegidius Hunnius. 

3 De Divina Maj estate Christi, p. 928. 
* Eodem loco. 

5 De Sessione Christi ad dext. Dei, p. 1073; see also De Incarnatione, 1021. 



LutJieran and Reformed Christologies. 93 

to the humanity of Christ even on earth not only ubiquity, 
the principal matter in dispute, but all other divine attributes. 
This accordingly Brentz does. He invests the humanity 
of Christ with all divine qualities, or, to use his favourite 
phrase, comprehensive of everything, with DIVINE MAJESTY, 
from the moment of Incarnation. He does not hesitate to 
say that the ascension and the session at the right hand of 
God took place not after the resurrection, but from the 
very beginning, from the moment when the hypostatical 
union of the two natures took place. 1 Incarnation and 
exaltation are in his view identical. 2 He does not indeed 
deny the historical reality of the ascension from the Mount 
of Olives; he distinguishes it as the visible ascent, from the 
invisible one which took place at the moment of Incarna- 
tion, and explains it to have been a spectacle economically 
prepared by Christ, partly to fulfil Scripture, partly to make 
the disciples understand that they were to be favoured no 
longer with such apparitions as they had enjoyed during 
the forty days following the resurrection; the time of such 
general and familiar appearances being now at an end.* 
It thus appears that, in the system of Brentz, the two 
states of exaltation and humiliation are not successive, as 
we have been accustomed to regard them, but rather si- 
multaneous and co-existent. The only difference between 
the earthly and the heavenly states is, that in the former 
Christ was at once humbled and exalted in the same sense, 
while in the latter He enjoys His exaltation unalloyed by 

1 De Personali ttnione, p. 847: Quid autem opus est, de tempore tantum resur- 
rectionis et ascensionis Christi dicere, cum jam inde ab initio, in momento incar- 
nationis suae ascendent invisibiliter in coelum, et ad dextram Dei patris sui sederit ? 

2 De Div. Maj. p. 923: Deinde non est se-ntiendum, quod humanitas Christi 
turn primum exaltata est in summam sublimitatem, et acceperit omnem potestatem 
in coelo et in terra, cum ascendit visibiliter ex monte Oliveti in coelum, sed cum 
verbum caro factum est, et cum in utero virginis Deus assumpsit hominem in 
eandem personam. 

3 De Ascensu Christi in Coelum, p. 1038; Voluit Christus hoc spectaculo finem 
facere generalium suarum apparitionum, quibus hactenus per quadraginta dies 
veritatem resurrectionis suae testifkatus est. Etsi enim postea visus estetiam Paulo: 
tamen non apparuit amplius generaliter eo modo, quo per quadraginta dies ap- 
paruit, ut una. cum discipulis familiariter colloqueretur, ambularet, et convivaretur. 
Hoc igitur externum spectaculum, ascensus Christi ex monte Oliveti, est clausula 
eorum apparitionum, quibus se hactenus a resurrectione discipulis gratifecerat. 



94 The Humiliation of Christ. 

any accompanying humiliation. The earthly Christ com- 
bined in Himself, so to speak, two humanities, a humbled 
one, and an exalted one; this being omnipresent, omnis- 
cient, omnipotent, etc., that localized, visible, tangible, 
limited in knowledge and power. One is naturally sceptical 
of the possibility of such a combination, and curious to 
know by what means Brentz secures their mutual compati- 
bility. But on careful examination, one finds that our au- 
thor does not greatly trouble himself about the solution of 
this difficult problem, but places majesty and exinanition 
side by side, and leaves them to adjust themselves to one 
another as best they can. He divides the things which 
can happen to the person of Christ into three grades. The 
first grade is that of divine majesty, in which the man 
Christ was from the beginning; the second grade is that of 
exinanition or humiliation, in which He existed in the days 
of His flesh till the resurrection; the third grade is that of 
economy or dispensation, terms applicable to Christ's whole 
life on earth, but which may be conveniently restricted to 
those acts or events in which Christ after the resurrection, 
and even after His ascension into heaven, appeared in one 
particular place, and shall appear in the last day. 1 This 
third grade Brentz explains after the following fashion. It 
is economy when Christ does anything, or appears not ac- 
cording to His majesty, but in accommodation to our power 
of comprehension, or for our benefit. When He had risen 
from the dead, and was being sought by the women in the 
sepulchre, the angel said: " He is risen, He is not here." It 
was truly said, but not juxta majestatem, but juxta econo- 
miam. He was not in the sepulchre dead, as the women 
sought to find Him. He was not in the sepulchre accord- 
ing to the external aspect. But He was nevertheless not 
in the sepulchre only, but even in heaven and earth, ac- 
cording to the majesty of His divinity — the divinity com- 
municated to His humanity. 5 The same epithet economical 
is applied to the appearances of the risen Christ, to His 
eating, to the prints of the nails which He showed to Thomas. 
These things did not form a part of Christ's humiliation, 
for that was past; but neither did they belong to His 
1 De Divina Maj estate Ckristi, p. 928. 2 Ibid. p. 929. 



Lutheran and Reformed CJiristologies. 95 

exaltation, for the glorified body of the Saviour is neither 
visible, nor disfigured by wounds, nor liable to hunger; they 
were simply an accommodation or condescension to the 
weakness of the disciples. 

Passing over this third grade, and returning to the ques- 
tion concerning the compatibility of the other two, we find, 
as already stated, that Brentz does little more than assert 
their actual co-existence. Christ the man, being born, was 
bound in swaddling-clothes and laid in a manger; and if 
you regard His exinanition, He was not then in any other 
place; but if you consider His majesty, He could not be 
confined to the manger, but filled the whole universe. He 
lay in the sepulchre dead, exinanitione ; He governed heaven 
and earth alive, majestate. With reference to the attribute 
of omniscience, indeed, the author expresses himself with 
less decision. Alluding to certain passages in Luther's 
writings, quoted by opponents, in which Christ is spoken 
of as like other men, not thinking of all things at once, or 
seeing, hearing, and feeling all things at the same time, 
he explains that these statements are to be understood 
with reference to the exinanition; so that while, if you look 
at the majesty of the man Christ, He was from the begin- 
ning of the Incarnation in forma Dei, and could think, hear, 
see, and feel all things at one time, nevertheless He hum- 
bled Himself, and was made in the likeness of men, so that 
He now eat, now drank, now preached, now slept, and did 
not always think or see all things. 1 This could, this potuit, 
is not thoroughgoing; it is the only hesitating word to be 
found in Brentz. To be consistent, he ought rather to have 
affirmed that Christ saw, and yet did not seem to see, all 
things at once. The logic of his theory required him to 
affirm a dissembled omniscience and omnipotence, as well 
as an invisible omnipresence. And when he is speaking in 
general terms of the majesty, he shows that he is fully 
aware of what his system demands. He expressly says 
that Christ dissembled His majesty in the time of exin- 
anition; 2 meaning that it was there in all its fulness, but 

1 De Incamatione, p. iooi. 

2 Ibid. p. 1027: Personalis unio duarum naturarum in Christo non ita est intel* 
ligenda, quod divinitas mutetur in humanitatem, aut quod humanitas fuerit ab 



96 The Humiliation of Christ 

only concealed from view by the servile form assumed ir. 
humility, and because the work of salvation made such 
assumption necessary; not always or perfectly concealed, 
however; for although in the time of His humility He did 
not exhibit the supreme majesty which He had, neverthe- 
less He did not altogether so dissemble it (our author as- 
sures us) that it did not sometimes appear, as in the forty 
days' fast, the walking on the waters, the occasional as- 
sumption of invisibility, and the transfiguration. 1 

In passing from John Brentz to Martin Chemnitz we 
enter into a very different intellectual and moral climate, 
the author of the work on the two natures of Christ (De 
duabus naturis in Christo) being a scholar thoroughly 
acquainted with the literature of his subject, and able to 
enrich his pages with a multitude of apt quotations, patris- 
tic and scholastic, and at the same time a man of a calm, 
dignified, peace-loving temper. Of this excellent book, in 
which it is easy to recognise the sobering and modifying 
influence of extensive knowledge, and of cordial sympathy 
with men representing diverse theological tendencies, well 
becoming one who had been a disciple both of Luther and 
of Melanchthon, 2 it would be a pleasant task to give a full 
analysis, but I must content myself here with a brief 
indication of the points in which the Christological system 
contained therein differs from that of the Wiirtemberg 
reformer.* 

aeterno, aut quod humanitas transfuderit suas imbecillitates in divinitatem, sed 
quod salva utriusque substantia divinitas ornavit in incarnatione humanitatem omni 
sua majestate, quam tamen majestatem humanitas, tempore exinanitionis, sua 
modo dissimulavit, donee earn resurrectione, et missione Spiritus Sancti, Ecclesiae, 
quantum quidem in hoc seculo ad salutem cognitu necessarium est, patefecit. This 
sentence is a brief statement of Brentz' whole theory at the close of his treatise on 
the Incarnation. 1 De Personali unione, p. 848. 

- Melanchthon, as is well known, took the Reformed view of the person of 
Christ and of Christ's presence in the Supper. 

3 For a more detailed account of both the Brentian and the Chemnitzian Chris- 
tology, readers are referred to Dorner, Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. ii., and still 
better to Thomasius, Christi Person und IVerk, vol. ii. pp. 342-404. Those who 
desire to peruse a clear exposition of the Lutheran Christology in all the stages of 
its history, will find what they want in the valuable work of the last-named author, 
who devotes upwards of two hundred pages to the subject (vol. ii. 307-526), and 
traces the course of the controversy from Luther to the period of the Saxon Decisio 
at the close of the Tubingen -Geissen dispute, in a very lucid and interesting manner. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 97 

In common with Brentz and all advocates of the Lutheran 
Christology, Chemnitz held that the personal union of the 
two natures involved a real communication of the proper- 
ties of the divine nature to the human, limited only by the 
principle that each nature must preserve its essential prop- 
erties, earnestly repudiating the Reformed conception of 
the union as a sustentation of the human by the divine, or 
as a mere gluing together of two separate and entirely 
heterogeneous natures. 1 He differed from Brentz in the ap- 
plication of the limiting principle, in the view he took of 
the mode and the effect of the communication, and in the 
adjustment of the same to the state of exinanition. As to 
the first point, Chemnitz held visibility, tangibility, exist- 
ence in loco, to be essential properties of matter; and by 
the accidential properties of Christ's humanity he under- 
stood the infirmities to which human nature is liable on 
accountof sin, and which Christ in the state of exinanition 
voluntarily assumed that He might suffer for us. 2 In ac- 
cordance with this view, he consistently held that even 
the post-resurrection, glorified body of Christ possessed, 
and will for ever possess, figure, and a localized manner of 
being. Jesus rose from the dead with that very substance 
of human nature which He received from the Virgin Mary, 
having hands, feet, sides, flesh, bones; in that body He 
ascended to heaven, and He will return to judgment as He 
was seen to ascend, so that men shall see that very body 
which they pierced with nails in the passion. 3 The ascen- 
sion was not a mere economic spectacle, but the actual 
progress through space of a real body rising gradually from 
earth up to a locally defined heaven. 4 And as Christ while 
on earth was in loco as to His body, just like other men; 
so now, according to natural law, He occupies with His 
glorified body a certain space, just as saints after the res- 
urrection will do, whose bodies, though spiritual, will still 
be material, not angelic in nature. 5 Even the glorified 

* De duab. nat. caput v. pp. 24, 25. 

2 Ibid. p. 4: Naturale ratione sit (hum. nat.) visibilis, palpabilis, physica loca. 
tione uno loco circumscripta. Accidentalia idiomata vocantur infirmitates proptei 
peccatum humanae naturae impositae. 

3 Ibid. p. 17. * Ibid. p. 185. s md. p. f86. 



9S The Humiliation of Christ. 

body of the Redeemer is by itself and of itself bounded by 
the property of its nature, and after the manner of glorified 
bodies is somewhere; and the where is not on earth. Ordi- 
narily, Christ is now no longer present in His Church, 
either after the mode of His earthly body or after the mode 
of His glorified bod)-. 1 

On the subject of the communicatio idiomatunt, Chemnitz, 
while asserting the Lutheran position against the Reformed, 
was particularly careful to guard against anything like ex- 
aequation of the natures. While Brentz boldly set aside 
the axiom finitum non capax i>ifi)iiti as virtually rendering 
the Incarnation impossible, Chemnitz allowed its validity, 
and admitted that no divine property could become habit- 
ually or formally a property of humanity. He therefore 
conceived of the communication in question, not as an 
endowment of the human nature of Christ with a second- 
hand divinity, which after the endowment has once taken 
place it can claim as its own, but rather as a pervasion of 
the human nature by the divine, using it as its organ, and 
exerting its energy in, through, and with it. 2 His watch- 
word, borrowed from John of Damascus, is 7C£pixoopt;6n; and 
his favourite, oft-repeated, elaborately-expounded, illustra- 
tive figure, the patristic mass of heated iron. He carefully 
prepares his way for the assertion and proof of this pervasion 
of the human organ by the divine actor, by a systematic 
classification of all the different modes in which communica- 
tion of the natures can take place, scrupulously pointing out 

1 De duab. nat. pp. 186, 187: De modo igitur praesentiae juxta ratioi>em et 
conditionem hujus seculi, visibili, sensibili, locali ac circumscripta dicta ilia loqu- 
untur — secundum quern modum praesentiae Christus jam ordinarie ecclesiae suae 
interris non amplius est. ... Et hac etiam forma visibili seu conditione corporum 
glonficatorum Christus corpore suo, nobis in hac vita in ecclesia in terris militante 
non est praesens, sed in coelis, unde ad judicium redibit. 

2 De duab. nat. p. 126: Quod scilicet div. nat. rou \6yov non transfuderit 
extra se in assumptam naluram majestatem, virtutem, potentiam, et operationem 
eandem cum divina, vel aequalem divinae majestati, virtuti, potentiae, et opera- 
tion! quae a divinitate separata, proprie, peculiariter et distinctim, formaliter, habi- 
laaliter aut subjective, humanitati, et secundum se inhaerunt sed quod tota pleni- 
tudo divinitatis in assumpta natura personaliter ita habitet, ut div. majestas tota 
sua plenitudine in nat. assumpta luceat; utque div. virtus, et potentia, majestatis 
et omnipotentiae suae opera in assumpta natura cum ilia, etper illam exerceat et 
perficiat. These prepositions, in, cum, per, constitute a standing formula for 
Chemnitz. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 99 

how far the Reformed go along with him, and showing 
manifest anxiety to go as far with them as he can. Then 
at length he takes his stand on this point of difference; but 
even here he does not wholly differ from his opponents, foi 
he includes under his third and highest grade not only the 
divine properties communicated to the humanity after the 
manner in which the power of burning is conveyed to heated 
iron, but those hyperphysical extraordinary gifts and graces 
with which the Reformed themselves declared the human 
nature of Christ to have been endowed in order that it 
might become a fit organ of Deity. 1 Indeed, it is question- 
able whether there was any serious difference of a theoretical 
kind between the Reformed and him. For granted, on the 
one hand, as Chemnitz does grant, that the divine attributes 
are the divine essence, and therefore inseparable from it, 
and on the other, that whatever habitually or formally 
belongs to human nature must be finite, there does not 
seem much harm in the doctrine of perichoresis, according 
to which the Logos pervaded the humanity as fire pervades 
heated iron, or the human soul pervades the body. The 
point of divergence lay not so much in the theory as in 
the use made of it in connection with the sacramentarian 
controversy. 2 

The position taken up by Chemnitz on the subject of 

1 De duab. nat. caput xii. Chemnitz was the first to make such a classification, 
though Damascenus had made such distinctions as might easily suggest the scheme 
to his mind. He distributed idiomatic propositions into three classes: the first, in 
which the subject is the whole person in concreto, the predicate a property of either 
nature; the second, in which the subject is either nature, the predicate an activity 
pertaining to the work of redemption in which both natures concur; the third, in 
which divine properties are ascribed realiter to the human nature. These kinds 
of propositions in the dialect of the Lutheran scholastics were distinguished respec- 
tively as the genus idiomaticum, the genus apotelismaticum, and the genus tnajes- 
taticum or auchematicum. Strauss (Glaubenslekre, ii. 134) remarks that to be 
complete a fourth genus should have been added, viz. genus vaiTEtvGOTiKov; in- 
cluding those propositions in which human properties, such as suffering, death, etc., 
are ascribed to the divine nature. The dispute between the Lutherans and the 
Reformed had reference to the third genus. Thomasius is of opinion that by this 
classification Chemnitz did no real service to Christology, but only tended to foster a 
scholastic way of teaching the subject (vol. ii. 387). 

2 Dorner (Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. ii. p. 204) remarks that Danaeus ob- 
jected mainly to the second part of Chemnitz' treatise, that which treats of the 
presence of the whole person of Christ in the Church 



ioo The Humiliation of Christ. 

Christ's bodily presence in the Supper, and in the Church 
generally, was different both from that of the Reformed and 
from that of Brentz. His characteristic doctrine is not that 
Christ in His whole person is everywhere present, but that 
He is able to be present when, where, and how He pleases, 
even in invisible form. 1 He teaches not a necessary omni- 
presence, but a hypothetical or optional multipresence. 
He acknowledges that such multipresence is not only 
above, but contrary to, the nature of body; and he frankly 
admits that had there been no express word or special 
promise in Scripture concerning Christ's presence, even in 
His human nature, in the Church, he would neither have 
dared nor wished to teach anything on the subject. He 
dogmatizes only because Christ said, " This is my body." 
And he thinks it right to limit dogmatism to the cases 
specified in Scripture. He declines to say whether the 
body of Christ be in stones, trees, etc., as Luther affirmed, 
because there is no evidence that Christ wishes His body 
to be there, and the discussion of such questions yields no 
edification; and for the rest, all such mysteries are relegated 
to the Eternal School, to which our author often piously 
refers, and where he humbly hopes to learn many things he 
does not understand now, and among them the incompre- 
hensible riddles arising out of the Incarnation. At the 
same time, while grounding his doctrine of potential om- 
nipresence on the words of Scripture, Chemnitz holds it 
to be a legitimate deduction from the union of natures. 
For him, as for all adherents of the Lutheran Christology, 
it is a sacred canon: after the union the Logos is not 
outside the flesh, nor the flesh outside the Logos {Logos non 
extra carnem, et caro non extra Aoyov). To deny that 
canon, as the Reformed did, is to deny the Incarnation. 2 
From this canon it follows that the humanity is always 

1 De duab. nat. p. 188: Christum, licet naturalem modum praesentiae corporis 
sui, onlinarie terris abstulerit . . . tamen suo corpore, etiam post ascensionem, 
er ante judicium praesentem adesse, aut praesentiam corporis sui exhibere posse in 
terris, quandocunque, ubicunque et quomodocunque vult, etiam invisibili forma. 

2 De duab. nat. p. 20: Quae unio adeo arcta, individua, inseparabilis, et indis- 
solubilis est, ut div. nat. rvv Xoyov nee velit, nee possit, nee debeat extra hanc 
cum carne unionem, sed in arctissima ilia unione cogitari, quaeri, aut apprehendi 
caro etiam assumpta, non extra, sed intra intimum rov Xoyov assumentis com 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 101 

intimately, inseparably, and indistanter present to the 
Logos;" and from this presence to the Logos follows in 
turn the possibility of the humanity being present at will 
to any part of the creation. Why only the possibility is 
inferred, is a question which naturally arises. One would 
suppose that if the humanity be always present to the 
Logos in virtue of the union, it must also be present in 
some manner, local or illocal, to the universe. But it is 
not our business to justify, but merely to expound, the theory 
now under consideration. This limitation of the effect of 
the union and communion of the natures to a merely 
potential omnipresence or multipresence was the peculiarity 
of Chemnitz and his school, and one of the outstanding 
points of difference between him and Brentz. It was a 
point greatly debated in after days in the controversy 
between the Giessen and the Tubingen theologians; the 
Giessen men contending for the distinction between the 
two kinds of presence, that to the Logos and that to the 
world, which had come to be named respectively praesentia 
intima and praesentia extima, and holding that the former 
involved only the possibility of the latter; the Tubingen 
men holding that the distinction in question was imaginary, 
and that a potential omnipresence was an absurdity. The 
course of the debate ran into very subtle discussions, which 
it would be unprofitable and tedious to speak of here. 
Suffice it to say, that much use was made on the Giessen 
side of the Chemnitzian conception of the divine majesty 
communicated to Christ's humanity as ENERGY: the Logos, 

plexum cogitanda, quarenda, et apprehenda est. Again, p. 194: Ratione hypos- 
taticae unionis jam post Incarnationem, persona rov \6yov extra unionem cum 
assumpta natura, et sine ea seorsim aut separatim, nee cogitari nee credi pie et 
recte vel potest vel debet; nee vicissim assumpta natura extra Xoyov, et sine eo. 
1 De duab. nat. p. 195: Ita ergo toti plenitudini Deitatis filii personaliter unita 
est assumpta nat. ut \6yoS intra arcanum, arctissimum, intimum, profundissimum 
et praesentissimum complexum totius div. suae naturae, quae supra et extra omnem 
locum est, secum, intra se, apud se, et penes se, personaliter unitam atque prae- 
sentissimam semper habeat, et in ilia plenitudine unitae Deitatis assumpta natura 
suam aSiaiftsrov xai aduxdrazov, juxta Damascenum, individuam seu msep- 
arabilem, et indistantem, seu locorum intervallo indisjunctam habeat immanentiam. 
Haec vero praesentia non constat ratione aliqua aut conditione hujus seculi. quae 
ratione nostra comprehendi possit, sed est magnum, incomprehensibile et irm^o^r- 
rabile illud mystenum hypostaticae unionis. 



102 The Humiliation of Christ. 

according to Chemnitz, communicated His energy to the 
human nature, as heat communicates its virtue to iron. 
By this way of conceiving the matter he tried to meet the 
objection, that if any divine attributes were communicated 
to Christ's human nature, all must have been, for example, 
eternity and immensity. These attributes, he said, are 
quiescent; they remain within the divine essence; they have 
no operation ad extra; therefore they are not directly com- 
municated, but only indirectly through their connection 
in the divine nature with the operative attributes. 1 The 
Giessen theologians applied this distinction between opera- 
tive and inoperative attributes to the question of ubiquity. 
They said, by omnipresence is meant not immensity, which 
is an incommunicable attribute of Deity, but presence in the 
world as an actor, — operative omnipresence. But God is 
free in action, therefore He is free to be present to the 
world or not as He pleases. The use of presence is a matter 
of free will.* This sample of controversial subtlety may 
suffice as an illustration of the thorny paths into which the 
dialectics of the Lutheran Christology led its adherents. 
Let us return to Chemnitz, that we may, in the last place, 
make ourselves acquainted with his view of the exinanition. 
On this subject, as on that of ubiquity, the position taken 
up by Chemnitz is difficult to understand, for the simple 
reason that it is not self-consistent, being an eclectic at- 
tempt to combine opposite points of view. Generally 
speaking, however, his doctrine may be discriminated from 
that taught by Brentz as follows. The Brentian state of 
exinanition (status exinanitionis) consisted in possession, 
with habitual furtive use of majesty; the Chemnitzian, in 
possession, with occasional use and prevailing non-use. 
According to Brentz, Christ in His state of humiliation not 
only could use, but did use, and could not help using, His 
majesty as a communicated attribute of His human nature; 
only in that state the use was dissembled, hidden; while 
in the state of exaltation it is open. According to Chem- 
nitz, Christ in the state of humiliation cou/d use majesty in, 
through, and with His humanity, and sometimes did use it 

1 De duab. nat. p. 127. 

5 U^urpatio praesentiae est liberrimae voluntatis; see Thomasius, vol. ii. p. 431 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies . 103 

to show the fact of possession; but generally He did not 
wish to use it. In the state of exaltation, on the other 
hand, He entered into the full and manifest use of His di- 
vine majesty in and by His assumed human nature. 1 Some- 
times Chemnitz seems inclined to ascribe not only partial 
use, but even partial defective possession, to the status hu- 
milis. He adopts from Ambrose the idea of a retraction 
on the part of the Logos, as explaining the exinanition. 
The power, he says, and operation of the Logos was not 
\6\q per se in the time of exinanition, but administered all 
things everywhere with the Father and the Spirit; but in 
the human nature during that time He concealed His 
glory, power, and operation under the infirmities of the 
flesh, and, as Ambrose speaks, withdrew it from activity,* 
so that natural properties and infirmities alone seemed to 
abide and predominate in the assumed nature not merely 
in the face of men, but even before God; while, neverthe- 
less, that fulness of divinity in the Logos elsewhere per- 
formed most powerfully all things with the Father and the 
Holy Ghost." This passage not only teaches by implica- 
tion partial non- possession of majesty by the humanity in< 
the state of humiliation, but involves a contradiction of the- 
Lutheran axiom, Logos non extra carnem, representing the 
Logos as, in the state of humiliation, operative where the 

1 Chemnitz' usual phrase to describe the exaltation is the plenary and manifest 
use and exhibition of majesty. Thus, cap. xxxiii. p. 215: Per sessionem vero ad 
dexteram Dei ingressus est in plenariam et manifestam usurpationem et ostensionem 
ejus potentiae, virtutis, et gloriae Deitatis, quae tota plenitudine personaliter in 
assumpta natura ab initio unionis habitavit. Thomasius (ii. 401) represents Chem- 
nitz as applying the terms plenaria and manifest a to po ssessio as well as usurpatio, 
in describing the state of exaltation, and quotes in proof the following: Deposita 
servi forma, assumpta natura humana ad plenariam et manifestam ejus majestatis 
possessionem et usurpationem, per sessionem ad dextram Dei, collocata et exaltata 
est. These words have escaped my observation in reading Chemnitz' treatise, but 
it is quite possible they do occur; for the author's doctrine is not self-consistent, 
the retractio of which he speaks really implying partial non-possession, defective 
nepix^P'n^ 1 ''^ imperfect communication of heat to the iron; and, moreover, a 
similar mode of expression occurs in the Formula of Concord which Chemnitz 
helped to compose; see part ii. cap. viii. § 26: Ad plenam possessionem, et div. 
majestatis usurpationem evectus est. 

2 Ab opere retraxit, p. 217. 

3 Cum tamen interea plenitudo ilia divinitatis Xoyov alibi omnia fortissime cunp 
Patre et Spiritu Sancto operaretur. — P. 217. 



104 The Humiliation of Christ. 

humanity was not. Yet Chemnitz can hardly have meant 
to teach the Calvinistic extra, as it was called by the Tu- 
bingen theologians of a later generation in their warfare 
with their opponents of Giessen, whom they charged with 
entertaining that notion so abhorrent to all thoroughgoing 
Lutherans; for he speaks of Christ, even in the state of 
humiliation, as showing when He wished that the fulness 
of divinity dwelt in His flesh, and as manifesting its use as 
far as He wished through the assumed nature. 1 On the 
whole, his idea of the exinanition seems to have been full 
possession, the necessary consequence of the personal 
union, but prevalent abstinence from use, so as to present 
the aspect of non-possession, — the mass of iron being heat- 
ed through and through, yet remaining black to sight and 
cold to feeling. The illustration is the author's own, and 
it serves well not only to explain his idea, but to show the. 
difficulty of his theory of a possession unaccompanied by 
use. Exinanition in this view is a perpetual miracle, well 
characterized by the author himself as incomprehensible 
and indescribable. 2 When the theory is applied to om- 
niscience, the exinanition appears not only a miracle, but, 
as the school of Tubingen maintained against the school 
of Giessen, an impossibility. For what can we understand 
by abstinence from the use of omniscience ? Chemnitz him- 
self seems to have found it hard to tell, for his statement 
on this point looks like the utterance of a man at his wits' 
end. "Christ, as to His divine nature, had omniscience; 
as to His human nature, He had infused habits of knowledge 
in which He grew. But even when He grew in wisdom He 
was full of wisdom, because the plenitude, as of Deity, so 
of wisdom and divine knowledge, dwelt personally in the 

1 Christus, ipso tempore exinanitionis, quanrlo voluit ostendit plenitudinem illam 
in sua carne habitare, et usum ejus quando voluit, et quantum voluit, per assump. 
tarn naturam, ipso exinanitionis tempore exercuit, manifestavit, exeruit. 

- Haec est incomprehensibilis et inennarrabilis exinanitio. Infinitis enim modis 
plus est, quam si ignis in ferro prorsus ignito, nee speciem, nee vim, nee operati- 
onem suam exereret. — P. 217. Again, p. 218: Si in ferro undiquaque perfecte 
ignito Deus manifestationem et operationem virtutis lucendi et urendi ad tempus 
supersedeas ut frigidum, nigrum, et obscurum videntibus et contrectantilms ap- 
pareret. That represents the state of humiliation. The ^-tate of exaltation is whar 
Jhe iron is not only heated, but shows its heat— vim suum lucendi et urendi 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. io5 

assumed nature, in which and through which, as far as the 
exinanition would allow, it manifested itself more and more. 
Whence in the time of exinanition Christ's human nature 
could be ignorant and grow in wisdom; but in the state of 
exaltation it is omniscient indeed." 1 

Such were the two forms which the Lutheran Christol- 
ogy assumed in the hands of Brentz and Chemnitz. It is 
manifest that they present sufficient points of difference to 
make any attempt at reconciliation somewhat difficult. 
An attempt, however, was made by representatives of the 
Swabian and Lower Saxon schools, — Chemnitz himself 
taking a leading part in the work of reconciliation, — and 
the Formula of Concord was the result. The method of 
reconciliation adopted in the composition of this ecclesi- 
astical symbol was that of giving and taking; opposite 
points of view being placed side by side, and troublesome 
questions being passed over sub silentio. It was declared, 
e.g., that in the personal union each nature retains its es- 
sential properties; but while the essential properties of the 
divine nature are carefully enumerated, the essential prop- 
erties of the human nature are not distinguished from the 
accidental. To be bounded and circumscribed, and to be 
moved from place to place, are mixed up with properties 
which are certainly accidental, such as to suffer and die; 
and we are not told whether the former are essential or 
not. The whole list are simply called properties. It is 
further declared that the human nature of Christ was ex- 
alted to the possession of divine properties over and above 
its own spiritual and natural ones; and that this exaltation 
to divine majesty took place first through the personal union, 
even from the moment of conception, and afterward through 
glorification after the resurrection; and in proof of the pos- 
session of majesty from the first, is adduced birth from the 
Virgin inviolata ipsius virginitater This majesty of the hu- 
man nature, however, we are told, was for the most part 
concealed in the state of exinanition, and as it were dis- 
sembled, — secret use being implied. 3 Yet in another place 
possession without use, kenosis as to use in opposition to 

' P. 139. 2 Formula of Concord, part ii. c. viii. 8. 

3 Formula of Concord, part ii. c. viii. 12, 13. 



106 The Humiliation of Christ. 

krypsis, is asserted. 1 Christ always was in possession of 
the majesty in virtue of the personal union, but He emptied 
Himself in the state of humiliation; and hence it came that 
He grew in age, wisdom, and grace, and only after His 
resurrection entered into a plenary use, as a man, of omni- 
science, omnipotence, and omnipresence; or, as it is put in 
another place, into a full possession and use of divine ma- 
jesty. 2 On the subject of ubiquity, both a hypothetical 
and a general or necessary omnipresence were taught. The 
Chemnitzian phrase, Christ can be with His body wherever 
He wishes, is used, and at the same time quotations from 
Luther are made, which assert in the strongest possible 
manner an absolute omnipresence, rendering of course the 
assertion of a power to be present anywhere at pleasure 
quite superfluous. Of the distinction suggested by Chem- 
nitz between presence to the Logos and presence to the 
world, no notice is taken. 

A document constructed on such a principle of compro- 
mise, and so open to a double interpretation, was not likely 
to put an end to controversy; and certainly the Formula 
of Concord utterly failed to produce that effect. It only 
supplied material for fresh disputes to another generation, 
in which the combatants ranged themselves respectively 
on the Brentian and the Chemnitzian sides; each party 
being able to find something in the formula in support of 
its particular views. On one most important subject the 
symbol was specially vague and unsatisfactory, that, viz., of 
the relation of the majesty communicated to the human 
nature of Christ, by the personal union, to His earthly state 
of humiliation. It seemed to teach at once full possession 
and secret use; full possession and prevalent abstinence 
from use; and not only partial use, but even partial and 
defective possession. Here was a question around which 
fierce strife was sure to be waged. Possession with hidden 
use, or possession without use, involving in some sense 
even defective possession; on which side did the truth lie ? 

1 Formula of Concord, part ii. c. viii. 66. 

8 Ibid, part i. c. viii. 16. In part ii. cap. viii. 22, a partial and occasionally 
manifest use of majesty by Christ, pro Uberrima voluntate in the statu exinaniti 
onis is taught. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 107 

Around these points skirmishing went on incessantly for a 
generation, until at length the great final war between 
Tubingen and Giessen broke out, in which the combatants 
went into battle to the respective war-cries of krypsis and 
kenosis, and fought with indomitable prowess and deadly 
bitterness for the space of some twenty years, till its noise 
was drowned in the louder din of a still more protracted 
war, carried on for another cause, with more substantial but 
not more carnal weapons. 1 

1. Proceeding now to offer a few critical observations on 
the Lutheran Christology, I begin by repeating a remark 
already made, that the principle on which the system is 
based is therein arbitrarily applied. That principle is, that 
the union of natures in one person involves communication 
of attributes; and there seems to be no reason a priori why 
the communication should not be reciprocal. 2 But we are 
given to understand that the communication is all on 
one side; divine attributes are communicated to the human 
nature, but not vice versa. The axioms finitmn non ca- 
pax infiniti is set aside, while the correlative proposition 
infinitum non capax finiti is assumed to be axiomatically 
certain. In the classification of the various kinds of com- 
munications, one, by which the human nature becomes 
partaker of the majesty of Deity, is recognised; but for one 
by which the divine nature becomes partaker of the weak- 
ness, and subject to the measures of human nature, no place 
is found. 3 God is not at liberty to descend; He can only 

1 See Appendix, Note B. 

a Gerhard says on this point: In hoc communicationis genere reciprocatio non 
habet locum. Ratio haec est, quia div. nat. est simpliciter dvaXXoioonoZ ycai 
djiiETCcftXqroS, ideoper unionem nee perfici, nee minui, nee evehi, nee deprim: 
potuit; hum. autem nat. quia humilis est et kvSerji ideo per unionem potuit exal- 
tari, evehi ac perfici. Nee est, quod regeras, unionem esse reciprocam, proinds 
etiam communicationem. Quamvis autem unio respectu sui ipsius considerata sit 
aequalis et reciproca, tamen ratione unitarum naturarum considerata exhibet nobis 
hanc differentiam, quod in unione 6 AoyoS sit assumens, caro autem sit assumpta: 
6 AoyoS assumpsit carnem, caro autem non assumpsit Xoyov, jam vero assumpti 
provectio est, non assumentis, ut dicunt pii veteres. — Loci iv. c. xii. § cci. 

s Thomasius, ii. p. 459, points out that the Tubingen theologians in their con 
troversy with the Giessen school taught a genus tapeinoticon, and says that in this 
they returned to Luther, and enriched the Lutheran Christology. This genus, 
however, called idiOTtoirjdii or oiHsicoiii?, was not analogous to the genus 



ioS The Humiliation of Christ. 

make man ascend: Incarnation means not God becoming 
man, but man becoming God. Now this one-sided appli- 
cation of the distinctive principle might be politic and 
prudent, but it is not logical; nor can it boast of any moral 
recommendations to compensate for its want of logic. It is 
not a doctrine worthy of all acceptation, that Incarnation 
cannot possibly mean the humiliation of God, but must 
signify the exaltation or deification of man. It is a doctrine 
contrary to the spirit of Scripture, 1 and to right ideas of 
the glory of God. This constant talk about the majesty 
communicated to the humanity of Christ in virtue of the 
personal union, savours of moral vulgarity, inasmuch as it 
implies that God's glory lies not in His grace, but chiefly 
in being infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, and so forth. 
If obliged to make a choice, I would rather take up with 
the genus tapeinoticum than with the genus auchematicum, 
to speak in the language of the schools; in plain terms, a 
God letting Himself down to man's level seems a grander 
thing than a God raising man to His level, especially when 
the latter is not an act of grace, but of necessity, a con- 
dition sine qua non of Incarnation. 

2. The Lutheran Christology, to say the least, threat- 
ens with extinction the reality of Christ's human nature. 
Doubtless its advocates are careful to say that each nature 
after the union retains its essential properties, and to pro- 
test against their doctrine being held to imply confusion, 
equalization, or abolition of the natures; and, of course, 
we believe that they did not mean to teach such errors. 
But if the question be, What are the logical consequences 
of their theory ? it is difficult to see how such conclusions 
can be avoided. It does not suffice to save the reality of 
the humanity to say, with Brentz, that the Deity possessed 

anchematicum. Neither the Tubingen theologians nor Luther ascribed to the di- 
vine nature human qualities as they ascribed human qualities to the human nature; 
but only in the sense in which the Reformed understood the doctrine of the com- 
municatio idiomatum, 

'■ Lutheran theologians admitted that the ancients identified exinanitio with incar- 
natio. but claimed to have Scripture on their side when they taught that exinanitio 
proper was subsequent in idea to the Incarnation. Hence they called exinanitio 
in the former sense ecclesiastica, and exinanitio in their own sense Biblica. Se 
Gerhard, loci iv. cap. xiv. § xciii. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 109 

by that nature is a communicated one; for the whole ques- 
tion is, whether such communication be compatible with the 
nature of that humanity. As to the attribute of ubiquity, 
indeed, it must be admitted that the ingenious distinction 
between local and illocal presence evades the argument 
drawn by the Reformed from the reality of Christ's body 
against the ascription of that attribute to the human nature. 
If any one choose to ascribe to Christ's body an illocal 
ubiquity, he cannot be refuted, any more than he could be 
refuted were he to ascribe a similar ubiquity to the body 
of any ordinary man. The only question is, whether this 
illocal ubiquity be itself a reality, or only a mere ghost, 
with which no man can fight, — an invention to save a 
theory, and by which, while saved in appearance, the 
theory is substantially sacrificed. The authors of the Re- 
formed reply to the Fornuda of Concord characterized the 
Lutheran distinctions between various kinds of presences 
as impudent and wicked sophisms, cunningly and fraud- 
ulently devised to defend a false position. 1 This may be 
rather strong language, but the statement is substantially 
correct; and one cannot but feel that when once refuge was 
taken in the epithet " illocal," the controversy concerning 
the communication of omnipresence to the humanity of 
Christ degenerated, as Le Blanc hints, into a mere logo- 
machy. 2 The distinction between the two kinds of presence 
is virtually a giving up of the theory. The same remark 
may be made with reference to the Chemnitzian mode of 

1 Admonitio Neostadtiensis, c. viii., falsa hypothesis iv. Hae strophae et 
Sphingis aenigmala nihil sunt nisi impudentissima et nequissima sophismata ad 1 
illudendum Deo, et decipiendos homines, versute et fraudulenter excogitata, etc. 
The Admonitio is contained among the works of Zachary Ursinus, the author and 
expositor of the Heidelberg Catechism. 

2 Theses Theologicae: De unione duarum in Christo naturarum et inde conse- 
quente idiomatum communicatione. Le Blanc says: Qua. in controversia forte plus 
est logomachiae atque pertinaciae, quam realis discriminis, nam aliquo sensu con. 
cedere possumus, realem communicationem proprietatum naturae divinae naturae 
Christi humanae factum esse, quatenus ut dictum est, in natura ilia humana realitei 
et personaliter inhabitat, et est divinitas cum omnibus suis proprietatibus, quemad- 
modum realiter ignis est in ferro ignito, sed quemadmodum ex ilia ignis cum ferro 
unione recte quidem dicere possumus, ferrum hoc urit, ferrum hoc candit, non 
tamen recte dicitur, ferreitas urit, ferreitas lucet, quia ignis in ferro, non ipsa tameu 
ferri natura, ita agit. 



1 10 The Humiliation of Christ. 

conceiving the communication of divine attributes in gen- 
eral to the human nature as analogous to the pervasion of 
iron by heat. There can be no doubt that this manner of 
representing the matter effectually guards against equaliz- 
ing of the natures. But it does this by failing to teach the 
Lutheran doctrine of communication. For what the heat 
communicates to the iron is not anything contrary to, or 
even above, the nature of the latter; for it is the nature of 
iron to receive heat, and by it to be made hot and lumin- 
ous. This illustration, therefore, of heated iron, to which 
Chemnitz was so partial, does not suffice to justify a com 
munication of all divine attributes to the human nature, 
but only such a communication as the Reformed Christology 
allowed, — a communication, viz., of all the gifts and graces 
which human nature is capable of receiving. 1 

3. This theory, consistently worked out, leaves no room 
for such an exinanition in the earthly life of Christ as shall 
satisfy the requirements of historical truth and the aim. of 
the Incarnation. The humiliation which is admitted to be 
soteriologically necessary is Christologically impossible. 
The act of Incarnation endows the human nature of Christ 
with attributes, of which no doctrine of exinanition, how- 
ever ingeniously constructed, can deprive it, without de- 
stroying the Christological basis on which the whole 
superstructure rests. The distinction between possession 
and use is entirely inadequate to the task of reducing the 
humanity, supposed to be already endowed with divine ma- 
jesty, to the sober measures of the kenosis. This is specially 
manifest in reference to the attributes of omniscience and 
omnipresence, to which the distinction cannot even be in- 
telligibly applied. No doubt attempts were made by the 
Lutheran theologians to apply the distinction to these at- 

1 The Reformed theologians were not slow to point this out. Sadeel, e. g. , 
remarks that the ancients used the simile of the burning sword principally with 
reference to the soul of Christ, to show how it gained from union with the Logos, 
e. g. in being sinless. He also remarks that though fire gives to iron heat and 
light, it does not give it its own property of ascending, and in like manner " d 
XoyoZ non ea tribuit hum. nat. quorum hum. ipsa nat. capax esse non potest, 
cujusmodi est infinitum esse et ubique esse, sed earn illustrat suo fulgore, et exornal 
dotibus incomprehensibilibus, quatenus ipsius naturae conditio fieri potest." — Dt 
Vcritate Humanae Naturae Christi, pp. 1S4, 185. To the same effect the Adtnotu 
A'c-ost. 



Lutheran mid Reformed Christologies. 1 1 1 

tributes by the invention of other still more subtle distinc- 
tions; but these attempts bear failure stamped on their front. 
Gerhard, for example, following Chemnitz, disposes of the 
omniscience of Christ in the state of exinanition in the fol- 
lowing fashion: "We teach that the soul of Jesus in the 
very first moment of the Incarnation was personally en- 
riched, as with other divine excellences, so also with the 
proper omniscience of the Logos, through and in virtue of 
the real, most intimate, and indissoluble union and com- 
munion with the Logos. But as He did not always use 
His other gifts truly and really communicated to Him in 
the state of exinanition, so also the omniscience personally 
communicated to Him as man He did not always exercise 
actn secnndo, and hence the soul of Christ truly made pro- 
gress according to natural and habitual knowledge, — the 
omniscient Logos not always exercising through the as- 
sumed humanity His energy, which is actu to know all 
things, but in the state of exaltation the full use of omnis- 
cience at length ensued." 1 The distinction taken in this 
passage between the omniscience which the soul of Christ 
possesses personaliter, and the limited knowledge which it 
possessed naturaliter, means, if it means anything, that the 
attribute of omniscience was not really communicated to 
the human nature, but was merely possessed by the divine 
person to whom that nature was united. That is to say, 
the positing of the distinction is the giving up of the Lu- 
theran theory, and a virtual return to the Reformed point of 
view. As for the other distinction between being omnis- 

1 Loci iv. c. xii. § cclxxix. : Docemus animam Christi in primo status incarna 
tionis momenta, ut aliis divinis eiox<xts, ita quoque omniscientia zov Xoyov 
propria personaliter esse ditatam per et propter realem, arctissimam et indissolu- 
bilem cum Xoyw omniscio unionem et uoivoaviav. Sed ut aliis donis, vere ac 
realiter sibi communicatis in statu exinanitionis, non semper est usus, ita quoque 
omniscientiam personaliter sibi ut humini communicatam non semper actu secundc 
exeruit, ac proinde anima Christi juxta naturalem et habitaalem scientiam vere 
profuit; Xoy<3 omniscio Ivspysiav suam, quae est actu omnia scire et cognos- 
cere, per assumptam humanitatem non semper exerente, sed in statu exaltationi? 
plena demum omniscientiae usurpatio fuit insequuta. Readers will observe in this 
passage a confusion of the person of Christ with His human nature. This use of 
the concrete in place of the abstract, the man instead of the humanity, is charac- 
teristic of the Lutherans, and was a frequent source of complaint on the part oi 
the Reformed. 



1 1 2 The Humiliation of Christ. 

cient actu prima, and exercising omniscience actu secundo, 
it is simply one of the many subtleties which abound in the 
Lutheran Christology, and tend to create suspicion as to 
the soundness of a theory which stands in need of them. 

The same thing may be said of the Chemnitzian distinc- 
tion between praesentia intima or praesentia extima, in- 
tended to apply the principle of possession without use to 
the attribute of omnipresence. The Tubingen theologians 
correctly characterized it as an ingenious invention for the 
purpose of concealing the weak point in the system of their 
opponents. 2 It is, in truth, simply a disguised retreat from 
the Lutheran position, Logos non extra carnem, which can- 
not be maintained unless one be prepared to assert with 
the school of Tubingen, that wherever the Son of God is, 
there is the Son of man; and inasmuch as the Son of God, 
even in the time of the humiliation, was not only present 
to His flesh, but by a substantial propinquity to all creatures, 
therefore also the human nature assumed into the unity of 
the person was not only present to the Word, but also by 
a substantial propinquity to all creatures. 3 

Speaking generally, it may be said that the Chemnitzian 
school of Christologists saved the historical Christ, by in 
effect sacrificing the communication of properties in the 
Lutheran sense, in reference to the state of humiliation. 
On the other hand, the Brentian school saved the Lutheran 
theory at the expense of historical truth. The occult use 
of divine majesty yields no real state of humiliation. The 
later representatives of this school, sensible of this, sought 
to remedy the defect of the Brentian doctrine of exinanition, 
by the usual method of introducing some new subtle dis- 
tinctions. They distinguished between direct and reflex use 
of majesty,* and asserted abstinence from the latter in the 
state of humiliation; but only a partial abstinence, in con- 
nection, namely, with the priestly office. Christ as a high 
priest made no personal use of His majesty, while at the 
same time He used it occultly as a king. Thus the later 
Tubingen theory, in brief, was: exinanition in the sacerdotal 
office by occultation and abstinence; in the kingly office, 

1 Thomasius ii. 450. 2 Ibid. ii. 450. 

3 Rid. ii. 469. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 1 1 3 

by occultation alone. 1 An utterly untenable theory, in- 
volving the ascription to Christ at the same time, and with 
reference to the same nature, of two series of contrary 
states. As a king He was omnipresent, as a priest He 
walked on earth in local circumscription; as a king He 
reigned, when as a priest He suffered on the cross; as a 
priest He truly died and rose again, as a king He continued 
alive in an occult manner, and afterwards manifested Him- 
self alive to men. Well might the Giessen theologians ask, 
in reference to this theory: Who can exhaust the sea of 
absurdities into which it leads ? 2 Good right had they to 
charge the advocates of such a theory with making the 
earthly life of the Saviour a spectacle of simulated servitude 
(spectaculum simidatae servitntis); as good a right, indeed, 
as their opponents had to charge them with betraying the 
cause of Lutheran Christology. Each party made good its 
accusation against its rival; and the result of the Tiibingen- 
Geissen controversy was, to substantiate the statement 
that the Lutheran theory, consistently worked out, leaves 
no room for a state of humiliation. 

4. In the Lutheran theory, the state of exinanition, ad- 
mitted to be a fact, is an effect without a cause. The 
Gospels tell how Christ was conceived in the womb of the 
Virgin, was born, grew gradually up to manhood, was in 
all respects found in fashion as a man, subject to all sinless 
human infirmities, and to the ordinary conditions of human 
existence on earth. All these things the theory under 
consideration recognises as historical realities, and reckons 
to the state of exinanition; but it is unable to give any 
satisfactory account of them. The Incarnation does not 
account for them; for incarnation in the Lutheran Chris- 
tology signifies simply the union of the Logos to a human- 
ity endowed with divine attributes: omnipotent, omniscient, 
omnipresent, and as omnipresent possessing no locally cir- 



1 Exinanitio in officio sacerdotali, per occultationem et retractionem, in officio 
regio per solam occultationem facta est. Luc. Osiander in Thomasius, ii. 469. 

2 Thomasius, ii. 482: Ne plura dicenda sint, num Christus ut sacerdo? vere 
inortuus est et vere revixit, ut rex autem vivus permansit occulte et latenter, et 
•postea sese vivum hominibus manifestavit. Quis tandem exhauriat tantum mare 
absurditatum? 



114 The Humiliation of Christ. 

cumscribed existence. Incarnation and exinanition are en- 
tirely distinct; the former in idea precedes the latter, and 
it does not necessarily involve the latter. How, then, is 
the state of exinanition to be explained ? Must we con- 
ceive of the Incarnation as not merely in idea but in reality 
preceding; and of the state of exinanition, including the 
conception, as the result of a voluntary act of self-humil- 
iation on the part of the already pre-existent God- man ? 
There is no other alternative open, if the historical hu- 
manity of Christ is not to be left standing as an inexplicable 
riddle. The Lutheran theologians did not fairly face this 
great difficulty besetting their theory. They shrank from 
asserting the real existence of a humanity of Christ, prior 
to the humanity which commenced with the conception; 
but, in so doing, they simply deprived themselves of the 
only possible means of accounting for the existence of the 
latter. 1 

5. Once more, the Lutheran Christology, in its zeal for 
the deification of Christ's humanity, really robs us of the 
Incarnation. If, as Lutheran theologians taught, the per- 
sonal union necessarily involves the communication of 
divine attributes to the humanity, then, in so far as Christ's 
humanity was like ours, it was uninformed with Diety. 
Christ, qua real man, was mere man. The incarnate God 
was not to be seen in Jesus of Nazareth; He was an airy, 
ghostly personage, as invisible as God Himself, omnipresent 
after an illocal manner, intangible, superior to all human 
needs and infirmities, immortal, omniscient, omnipotent. 
No wonder that speculative theologians of modern times 
should be found asserting that the Lutheran Christ is an 

1 Both Dorner and Schneckenburger agree in holding that a real God-manhood, 
pre-existent, and the cause of the humanity whose existence began with the con- 
ception, was the logical consequence of the Lutheran theory. Dorner, however, 
ult with Schneckenburger for not recognising that, in point of fact, the 
Lutheran theologians did not teach such a pre-existent humanity. "The actual 
doctrine," he says, " of the old dogmatics is one thing, the conclusion which may 
be drawn from it another. In this respect we have also conceded that the most 
strictly logical form of Lutheran Christology must be driven to the assumption of a 
pre-existent majesty." I do not suppose Schneckenburger meant to say anything 
more than this. See Dorner, Person of Christ, II. ii. 292-297, and 431-435. And 
Schneckenburger, zur Kirchlichen Christologie, pp. 20, 21 ; also Vergleichttid- 
Darstellung, ii. 208. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. n5 

ideal, not a historical person, 1 and imagining themselves 
the children of Luther, and the true representatives of his 
Christological tendency, when they teach a Pantheistic 
doctrine in which Incarnation means the eternal identity of 
the divine and the human realizing itself, not in Christ in 
particular, but in humanity at large; the krypsis being the 
condition of the finite spirit, which in its earthly mode of ex- 
istence is no longer conscious of what it has itself produced, 
as the absolute organizing reason of the world. The old 
Lutherans were not Pantheists, nor did they look on the 
historical Christ as an ordinary man; but their Christology 
was undoubtedly of such a character, as to make it possi- 
ble for modern Pantheistic Christologies to lay claims to 
orthodoxy with a show of plausibility. 3 



PART II. — THE REFORMED CHRISTOLOGY. 

In passing from the Lutheran to the Reformed Christol- 
ogy, we encounter a markedly different manner of regard- 
ing the person of Christ. The two Christologies are 
distinguished by certain broad features, recognisable at a 
glance. While the Christology of the Lutheran Church 
emphasizes the majesty of Christ's humanity, that of the 
Reformed confession insists on its reality. The very titles 
of the treatises which emanated from the two schools reveal 
their respective tendencies. The Lutheran wrote, con 
amore, books treating of the divine majesty of Christ; * the 
Reformed chose for his congenial theme, the verity of the 
human nature of Christ. 4 The whole subject in dispute was 
looked at by the adherents of the two confessions from 
different points of view. The Lutheran formed his idea 

1 Vid. Weisse, Die Christologie Lut/zer's, unci die Christologische Aufgabt 
der Evangelischen Theologie, p. 79 ff., also p. 219. 

2 On the inner relations between the old Lutheran Christology and modern 
speculative Christology, some striking observations are made by Schneckenburgei 
in his Vergleichende Darstellung. See Appendix, Note C. 

3 De Divina Majestate Christi. Brentz and Thummius wrote treatises witl 
this title. 

4 De Verilate humanae naturae Christi. This is a title of a work by SadeeL 



1 1 6 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of Christ from the state of exaltation, as the abiding form 
of His existence; regarding the state of humiliation aa 
something transient, accidental, economical, not in ac- 
cordance with the idea, and requiring to be reconciled with 
it in the best way possible. The Reformed, on the other 
hand, formed his idea of Christ from the state of humilia- 
tion, as that concerning which most is known, and which 
it most concerns us to know, and which, being known, pre- 
pares us for understanding the subsequent state of exalta- 
tion. For him the state of exinanition was not, as for the 
Lutheran, a strange perplexing thing, as unaccountable as 
it was undeniable; but rather a thing of course, the natural 
result of an Incarnation which was itself an act of divine 
condescension. In the Reformed view, Incarnation and ex- 
inanition were practically one. It was not denied, indeed, 
that the two things are distinguishable in idea, even that 
the Incarnation might conceivably have taken place in a 
manner which should have ushered in at once a state of 
exaltation; ' but it was held that the idea of Incarnation 
did not demand an immediate or necessary exaltation; that 
it was compatible with either state; that it settled nothing 
as to the mode; that God could be as truly incarnate in a 
state of humiliation as in a state of exaltation; and that the 
end of the Incarnation being kept in view, the way of hu- 
mility was the only one open. From these points of differ- 

1 Heidegger, e. g., says: In nativitate qua coepit esse in similitudine hominis, 
imo et conceptione ipsa, licet exinanitus Christus fuerit, non tamen exinanitio 
proprie in kv6<Xf>Koo6Ei, irayOpoomjdst, incamatione ejus consistit. Nam sim- 
pliciter hominem fieri, in similitudine hominis esse, non est exinaniri, humiliari. 
Qui exinaniri debuit, homo esse debuit; sed non quisquis homo est, exinaniri debet. 
Nam etiam in statu exaltationis mansit homo; neque tamen vel exinanitus vel 
humiliatus amplius. Et exinanitus, minoratus est oyo, fipaxv Ti, paulisper, ad 
breve tempus. Sed homo fuit non paulisper, nee ad breve tempus; sed inde a 
nativitate semper fuit, est, et erit. Potuit igitur esse homo, et non exinaniri, sed 
esse i'<fa fyecS, instar Dei. Ideo 5. Paulus, Phil. ii. 7, eas phrases ytv£6 r iai hv 
ojuotoojuart <xv r )QQoitoov, esse in similitudine hominum, et juop(pi}v dovXov 
Xafjslv, 6xvM aTl evp/6xe6 r jai g5? avBpoo7tov, servi formam accipere, habitu 
inveniri ut hominem, diligenter distinguit, innuens non prius, sed duo haec poste? 
riora exinanitionem dicere ... In eo ergo exinanitio Christi hominis consistit, 
quod non simpliciter homofactus; sed ejusmodi homofactus est, utjuopepvv dov- 
Xov habuerit, et 6xV)J-Olxi ut homo repertus fuerit. Corpus Theologiae, locus 
xviii. cc. iv. v. See on the Reformed doctrine on this point, Ebrard, Dogmatik, 
ii. 208. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 117 

ence it followed, of course, that the two Christologies 
should be discriminated in two other respects, viz., that 
while the Lutheran was speculative in tendency, and theo- 
logical in its general character, the Reformed, on the other 
hand, was under the influence of the historical spirit, and 
of an anthropological bias. The advocates of the Lutheran 
theory believed many things about Christ which were not 
verifiable or historically attested truths, but simply a priori 
deductions from a preconceived idea of Christ's person, as 
constituted by the union of the divine and human natures. 
The Reformed doctors, on the contrary, adhered rigidly to 
the facts of the gospel history, and refused to draw any 
speculative inferences from the doctrine of Incarnation. 
And their hearts were at home in these sober, humble facts. 
It was not an offence to them that in Christ the man was 
more apparent than the God, that behind the veil of flesh 
Deity hid itself. They accepted the occultation as an unde- 
niable truth; nay, they gloried in it. For, while profoundly 
convinced that in Christ God became man, they were, if 
possible, more intensely interested in what God had become, 
than in what the Incarnate One continued to be. They 
made much of Christ's consubstantiality with men: " In all 
things like His brethren, sin excepted," was their watch- 
word; the man Christ Jesus, true God, yet emphatically 
man, was their hope and consolation. 

Among the Reformed theologians no such wide diversity 
of opinion existed, on the subject of Christ's person, as are 
found to prevail among the Lutherans. The Reformed 
Christology is a self-consistent scheme, taught with much 
uniformity by all the theologians of the Calvinistic conles- 
sion; the only difference perceptible consisting in the more 
or less complete working out of common principles. We 
might therefore take any well-known divine as our guide in 
the exposition of this theory. It will be best, however, to 
select, as the type and standard of Reformed opinion, a 
work written at the period when the antagonistic theory 
took definite shape in an ecclesiastical symbol, and designed 
to be a formal reply to that theory, as embodied in sym- 
bolic documents. I refer to a treatise I have already had 
occasion to quote, the Admonitio Christiana, usually desig- 



1 1 8 The Humiliation of Christ. 

nated from the place where it was first published in 1581, 
Admonitio Ncostadticnsis, in which the views of the Re- 
formed on the disputed subjects of the person of Christ 
and the presence in the Supper are stated and defended, in 
opposition to those set forth in the Formula of Concord, 
in a full, lucid, learned, and dignified manner. 1 

In this important work the Reformed doctrine concerning 
the person of Christ is briefly repeated to the following 
effect. 2 The eternal counsel of God for man's salvation de- 
manded that the eternal Son of God should become Media- 
tor and victim, reconciling us to the Father, and regenera- 
ting us into sons of God by the Holy Spirit. Therefore He 
assumed into the unity of His person a nature truly human, 
consisting of a rational soul and a human body, formed and 
sanctified by the power of His own Spirit in the womb of 
the Virgin, of the substance of His mother, joining and 
coupling it to Himself not only inseparably, but also by a 
secret and inscrutable vinculum in a most intimate and in- 
effable manner, so that the eternal Logos or Son of God, 
and this mass of the nature assumed, are at the same time 
the substance of the one person of Christ, who, one and 
the same, is true Son of God and true Son of man, true God 
and true man, born from eternity of the Father, and in time 
of the Virgin. In virtue of this union, divinity is not in 
Christ as in all creatures for their conservation and govern- 
ment; nor does it dwell in Him as in saints, making them 
conformable to Himself by grace and His own Spirit, but 
the Logos so inhabits and bears, moves and vivifies this 
His own flesh, that with it, once for all assumed into the 
unity of one person with Himself, He remains the hypos- 
tasis of one and the same person of Christ, as soul and body 
are so united by a secret inexplicable nexus that they are 
substantial parts of one man, and the body would perish 
unless it were so borne by the soul; indeed, the Logos co- 

1 The full title of this book is, De Libro Concordiae quern vocant, a quibusdam 
Theologis, nomine qitorundam Ordinum Augustanae Confessionis ediio, Admo- 
nitio Christiana, scripta et approbata a Theologis et ministris ecdesiarum in 
ditione illustrissimi Principis Iokannis Casimiri Palatini ad Rhenum Bavariae 
Duds, etc. Zachary Ursinus was the principal author of this book, and it is in- 
cluded in his works published at Heidelberg in three vols, in 1612. 

• Caput i. De persona Christi, verae doctrinae repetitio. 



jLutheran and Reformed Christologies. 119 

heres with His flesh more closely than the soul with the 
body, so that even when His soul was separated from His 
body by death, He was not separated from either. On the 
other hand, while thus closely united, the natures are not 
changed or mixed or confused, but remain distinct while 
united, and retain their respective essential properties. 
Hence in the one person there is a twofold substance, es- 
sence, or nature; one divine, uncreated, creating, sustain- 
ing, and vivifying the other, spiritual, uncircumscribed, and 
always existing everywhere the same and whole; the other 
human, created, sustained, and vivified by the former, finite, 
corporeal, circumscribed by quantity and definite figure s 
having part beyond part, and existing only in one place at 
one time. Also a twofold mind or intellect; one divine 
and increate, knowing all things past, present, future, pos- 
sible, impossible, from eternity to eternity, by itself, in one 
unchangeable act or intuition, and the fountain of all crea- 
turely intelligence; the other human, created, knowing and 
contemplating all things which it wishes to know, and when 
it wishes, through the divine mind united to it; able to per- 
ceive all sensible things by diverse, distinct acts of sensa- 
tion and perception. Also a twofold will and operation; 
the one divine and increate, performing whatever it wishes, 
volens et nolens, from eternity, immutably and in His own 
time, exciting the other and governing it at pleasure, as a 
part acting on another part of the one entire perfect Christ, 
the first cause of all His actions; the other human and cre- 
ated, ever agreeing with the divine, depending on it, will- 
ing and doing by its guidance whatever is its proper func- 
tion. Also a twofold wisdom, strength, and virtue, one 
divine, increate, being the unique, total, most simple, infin- 
ite, and immutable essence of Deity; the other, human and 
created by the divine, itself neither the essence of Deity 
nor of humanity, nor even a thing subsisting by itself, but 
a quality and property produced in the human nature by 
the Logos through His own Spirit, and inhering therein as 
in its own subject, which grew in Christ humbled with His 
age, and in Christ glorified arrived at perfection; yet, while 
surpassing the gifts, comprehension, and intelligence of all 
men and angels, is nevertheless finite in the divine view. 



120 The Humiliation of Christ. 

and can never be equal to the essential wisdom, power, 
and virtue of God; the finite to the infinite, the creature to 
the creator. 

In virtue of this union, whatever is said of Christ is said 
truly and really of His whole undivided person, sometimes 
in respect of both natures, sometimes in respect of one or 
other. The former, when the predicate has reference to 
Christ's office; He being Mediator, Redeemer, Intercessor, 
King, Priest, Prophet, in respect both to His Deity and tc 
His. humanity, and each nature performing its proper part 
in all official acts; the latter, when the predicate has refer- 
ence to a peculiar property or operation of one of the na- 
tures. Thus it can be said that God was born, died, rose, 
ascended, but only in respect to the human nature of Christ; 
and again, that the man Christ Jesus is omnipotent, om- 
niscient, omnipresent, in virtue, not of His humanity, but 
of His divinity. Yet in both cases the predication is not 
merely verbal, but real, in consequence of the union. It is 
the union which makes it proper to say, in the case of Christ, 
God suffered, the man Jesus is omniscient; while it would 
be improper to say, in the case of the Baptist, God suffered 
because he suffered, or the Baptist was omnipresent because 
God dwelt within him as well as without him. 

As to the distinction between the two states of humilia- 
tion and exaltation, it has a bearing on the properties of 
both natures, but in very different ways. With reference 
to the properties of the divine nature, it is a distinction 
simply between partial concealment and open manifesta- 
tion. Christ in the state of humiliation had these proper- 
ties not less than He has them now in glory; for they are 
His eternal and immutable divinity itself. He was then as 
omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, as to His divini- 
ty, as now. But He did not manifest these properties then 
as now. He concealed His divinity in the state of exina- 
nition, and revealed it only in a modified manner, and so 
far as was needful for the office of that time. With refer- 
ence to the properties of the human nature, on the other 
hand, the distinction between the states is more radical, 
implying for the state of exaltation the loss of some acci- 
dental properties possessed in the state of humiliation, the 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 121 

perfected development of others, and the retention of the 
essential properties. The accidental properties left behind 
by Christ, when He entered into glory, are the physical 
and mental infirmities which He assumed with humanity — 
liability to hunger, thirst, fatigue, grief, suffering, death, 
and ignorance. The properties in which He was perfected, 
also accidental, that is, not inseparable from the idea of 
human nature, are those of glory and majesty, as strength, 
agility, incorruptibility, brightness, wisdom, gladness, vir- 
tue. These Christ had in the state of humiliation, as far 
as was needful for His perfect purity and sanctity, and for 
the discharge of His office on earth; but in the state of ex- 
altation He received such increase thereof, that, in the 
number and degree of His gifts, He far excels not only the 
highest excellence of angels and men, but even His own 
attainments in the days of His flesh. 

I. In the foregoing condensed statement, the leading pe- 
culiarities of the Reformed Christology, as opposed to the 
Lutheran, are clearly though briefly indicated. The first 
outstanding point calling for remark is the idea of the union. 
The Lutherans were accustomed to say that, according to 
the Reformed conception of the union, the two natures 
were simply glued together like two boards, without any 
real communion. It must be confessed that, at first sight, 
the Reformed theory of the person of Christ does give this 
impression. The two natures stand out so distinctly, as to 
seem two altogether separate things, tied together by the 
slender thread of the divine Ego. From the nature of the 
case, the tendency on the side of those who opposed the 
Lutheran doctrine of communication was, to carry the as- 
sertion of the distinctness of natures as far as was compati- 
ble with recognition of the unity of the person. This ten- 
dency is apparent in the strong, bold assertion by the 
author of the Advwnitio of a gemina substantia, gemina mens, 
gemina sapientia robnr et virtus; its influence is traceable 
also in the language they employ to describe the act of 
union, the Son of God being represented as joining and 
coupling the human naiure to Himself by a secret and in- 
scrutable vinculum. This outwardness in the Reformed 
mode of conceiving the union became still more marked as 



122 The Humiliation of Christ. 

time went on. Van Mastricht, for example, explains the 
nature of the hypostatic union in these terms: " It is noth- 
ing else than a certain ineffable relation of the divine per- 
son (in Christ) to the human nature, by which this human 
nature is peculiarly the human nature of the second person 
of the Deity." 1 In this rather vague and unsatisfactory ex- 
planation, which in truth explains nothing, there comes 
out, by the way, another characteristic of the Reformed 
style of thought, due to the same tendency to keep as far 
apart as possible the two natures in Christ. Van Mastricht 
speaks of a certain ineffable relation of the divine person to 
the human nature; herein following the example of Aqui- 
nas, who, as we have seen, 2 taught that in the Incarnation, 
not the divine nature, but the person only of the Logos be- 
came man. The preference of this mode of conceiving the 
Incarnation, though common among the Reformed theo- 
logians, is not clearly marked in the Admonitio. 

2. The authors of that historical document were, indeed, 
very far from wishing to make the union of the natures a 
merely nominal and formal thing. They earnestly believed 
in a communion of the natures, and did what they could to 
»nake that communion a reality. The means they adopted 
lor that end are the second point which invites our atten- 
<ion. These were, on the one hand, the ascription to 
vhe Son of God, in virtue of the personal union, of partici- 
pation in the sufferings of His humanity; and, on the other 
hand, the doctrine adopted from Aquinas, of the communi- 
cation of charisms to the human nature, fitting it to be the 
companion, so to speak, and organ of Deity. Both of these 
media of communion are briefly hinted at in the Repetition 
and enlarged on in subsequent parts of the Admonitio. 
God, it is stated, is truly said to suffer, because the suffering 
humanity is the proper humanity of God. More light is 
thrown on the point further on in the book, where, in reply 
to the Lutheran charge of teaching that in the passion of 
Christ the Son of God had no concern, reference is made 

1 Theologia theorelico-practica, lib. v. cap. iv. sec. vii.: Ineffabilis quaedam 
relatio divinae personae ad humanam naturam, per quam haec humana natura 
peculiariter est humana natura secundae personae Deitatis. 

2 Vid. Lecture ii. p. 73. 



Lutheran a?id Rcf owned Christologies. 123 

to the exclamation of the exalted Saviour, " Saul, Saul, 
why persecutest thou me ! " and an argument a fortiori is 
drawn from the suffering by sympathy implied in the 
words, to a still more real participation in His own suffer- 
ing. 1 The part performed by the divine nature in the 
passion is more exactly defined elsewhere thus: " The 
human nature suffers and dies innocently, and becomes a 
victim for sin, willing this obedience; the divine nature 
also wills this obedience, and conceals its power and 
glory, not repelling from the human nature death and 
ignominy, yet sustains that nature in torment, seriously 
desires that the eternal Father may receive us into His 
favour on account of this victim, and adds such dignity to 
the victim which He offers to the Father, that it is a suffi- 
cient ransom and price for the sins of the whole world." 2 
These determinations go a certain length in helping us to 
understand the mystery of divine suffering, but perhaps 
the hint at suffering by sympathy is of more value than 
them all. It reminds us of a truth we are apt to lose sight 
of in our abstruse discussions, viz. that the divine and 
human natures, though metaphysically wide apart, are 
morally of kin, and that therefore, though the Divine 
Spirit cannot, as indeed the human spirit also cannot, 
suffer physical pain, it can suffer all that holy love is capa- 
ble of enduring. The infinite mind can suffer in the same 
way as the sinless finite mind; it can have sorrow in 
common with the latter, as well as wisdom, knowledge, 
and virtue; and if there be any difference between divine 
and human sorrow, it is a difference of the same kind as 
that which obtains with reference to the last-named attri- 
butes. The authors of the Admonitio recognise the truth 
that in some attributes Deity and humanity stand related 
as archetype and image, wisdom and virtue being included 
among the number; and with reference to those attributes, 
it makes the distinction of natures one mainly of degree, 
divine wisdom and virtue being infinite, while human 
wisdom and virtue, however great, are limited. Is it a 
heresy to include among the common attributes of Deity 

1 Admonitio, caput iii. (Dilutio accusationis falsae) sec. vi. 
8 Ibid. sec. v. 



124 The Humiliation of Christ. 

and humanity a capacity of sorrow on account of sin, 
and to say that Deity differs from humanity only in posses- 
sing an infinitely greater capacity ? If so, then what does 
Scripture mean when it speaks of the Divine Spirit being 
vexed and grieved ? what are we to understand by Paul's 
rapturous language about the height and depth, and length 
and breadth of divine love ? 

On the communication of cliarisms to the humanity of 
Christ, the Reformed theologians laid great stress; it was 
their equivalent or substitute for the Lutheran communica- 
tion of divine properties, and they carried it as far as the 
axiom finitum non capax infiniti would permit. The au- 
thors of the Admonitio had this doctrine in view, when in 
their repetition they spoke of the wisdom and virtue of the 
humanity of Christ, as qualities wrought in that nature by 
the Logos through His Spirit. In answering the Lutheran 
charge of degrading the hypostatic union into a mere con- 
glutination, they return to the topic and enter a little more 
into detail. " Divinity," they say, " communicated to the 
humanity this highest dignity, that it is the flesh of the 
Son of God; He conferred on it all celestial gifts which can 
be bestowed on human nature in the highest degree; He 
communicated to it fellowship in the office of Mediator, 
Head of the Church, Governor and Judge of the whole 
world. He communicated to it fellowship in one honour and 
adoration with the Logos." 1 

It is easy to see what attractions, beyond the merely 
controversial advantage of enabling them to defend them- 
selves against the invidious accusations of their opponents, 
this doctrine must have had for theologians of the Reformed 
tendency. One leading recommendation of it was, that in 
representing the man Jesus as the recipient of communi- 
cated gifts and graces, it helped to extend and establish 
the highly valued doctrine of the Jiomoiisia, the practically 
precious truth that Christ was in all respects like unto His 
brethren; the Head of the Church like the members. Like 
them in the constituent elements of His human nature, in 
subjection to sinless infirmities, in exposure to temptation, 
He was like them further even in this, that He was fitted 

1 Caput iii. sec. ii. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. [25 

for the duties of His office by the influences of the Holy 
Spirit; unlike only in the degree in which these influences 
were vouchsafed, the Spirit being poured out on Him alone 
without measure. Looked at from this point of view, the 
communication of charisms is undoubtedly a doctrine of 
real importance; and by giving it prominence in their 
Christological scheme, the Reformed theologians did good 
service to the Church. But, while of undoubted religious 
value, this doctrine is somewhat embarrassing theoretically, 
inasmuch as it seems difficult to adjust its relations to the 
personal union. The questions occur: Why should not the 
graces with which the soul of Jesus was enriched be the 
direct result of the union of the Logos to the humanity; 
why this roundabout way of communicating spiritual gifts 
through the Holy Ghost; does not this form of representa- 
tion tend to make the union of the natures still more 
external — in fact, to make the divine factor in the union 
superfluous, and so land us in a purely human personality? 
In connection with these questions it is important to notice 
the way in which the Admonitio puts the matter. It speaks 
of the wisdom and virtue of the man Jesus as a quality 
wrought in His human nature by the Logos through His own 
spirit. This phrase, "by the Logos through His own 
spirit," unites two points of view which were often disjoined 
by Reformed theologians, some preferring the one, some 
the other; and suggests a method of dovetailing the doc- 
trine of the communication of charisms into the doctrine 
of the personal union. The spirit, whose gracious influ- 
ences were poured into the soul of Christ, was the spirit 
proceeding from the Logos, His own spirit communicated 
freely by Himself; and the doctrine that the Logos worked 
on the humanity of Christ through His spirit, may be taken 
to mean that the influence of the Logos on the human 
nature was not physical but moral, not the immediate and 
necessary effect of the union of natures, but the free, ethi- 
cally mediated action of the one on the other. 1 This is a 

' So Schneckenburger, Vergleichende Darslellung, ii. 239, 240: So wenig war 
die unio personalis una der darin gesetzte Einfluss des Logos auf die menschliche 
Seele eine die natttrliche stindlose Schwache auf hebende Gewalt wider deren Ent- 
wickelung und Lebensverlauf als einen wahrhaft menschlichen (that, according tc 



126 The Humiliation of Christ. 

principle of great importance in its bearing both on the 
nature of the union and on the course of Christ's human 
life on earth. 

3. A third prominent feature in the Reformed Christology 
is its doctrine of exinanition. Unlike the Lutherans, the 
Reformed theologians applied the category of exinanition 
to the divine nature of Christ. It was the Son of God who 
emptied Himself, and He did this in becoming man. The 
Incarnation itself, in the actual form in which it took place, 
was a kenosis for Him who was in the form of God before 
He took the form of a servant. But the kenosis or ex- 
inanitio was only quasi, an emptying as to use and mani- 
festation, not as to possession, a hiding of divine glory and 
of divine attributes, not a self-denudation with respect to 
these. The standing phrase for the kenosis was occultatio, 
and the favourite illustration the obscuration of the sun by 
a dense cloud. Zanchius, for example, says: "Under the 
form of a servant the form of God was so hid that it scarcely 
appeared any longer to exist, as is also the light of the sun 
when it is covered by a very dense cloud; for who would 
not then say that the sun had laid aside all his light, and 
denuded himself of his splendour ? " l But the question 
here suggests itself, How is this occidtation to be understood ? 
Does it signify merely that the manifestation of the divine 
attributes of the Logos was hid from the view of the world, 
or does it mean that there was also a suspension of their 
exercise for Christ Himself; in such a way, for example, that 
the omniscience of the Logos was practically non-existent 
for the man, not intruding itself into His human conscious- 
ness ? On this topic the Reformed theologians were very 
reserved, insomuch that Schneckenburger, who was well 
acquainted with the literature of the subject, expresses 
himself doubtfully as to the import of the gemina mens. 

Calvin and Hulsius, Christ could even forget in a moment of mental anxiety what 
He previously knew). Schneckenburger continues: Die influentia war nicht phys- 
ica, sondern moralis, quae a voluntate pendet. Die voluntas des Logos war aber 
die, der rein menschlichen Lebensentwickelung und Lebensbethatigung Raum zu 
geben. (The influence was not physical but moral, depending on the will- but 
the will of the Logos was to give room for a purely human development and 
activity.) 

1 De Incarnatione, lib. i. p. 34. 



Lutheran a?id Refowicd Christologies. 1 2 7 

As I shall have occasion to refer to the views of this 
scholar in the next lecture, in enumerating the various 
attempts which have been made in recent times to reconcile 
the divinity of Christ with the reality of His human life as 
unfolded in the gospel history, I may here quote what he 
says on the point. " It is very questionable," he remarks, 
41 whether according to the logic of the (Reformed) the- 
ory the time-conditioned consciousness of the God-man and 
the eternal self-consciousness of the second person of the 
Trinity are required to meet in the divine-human subject, 
developing Himself in time. The matter probably stands 
thus: That instead of the Lutheran division of the human 
nature into its illocal and local subsistence, a distinction is 
to be made in the life of the divine, according to which the 
mens duplex is to be distributed between the Logos, as a 
person of the Trinity, and the concrete God-man in so 
far as that person reveals and develops Himself in Jesus 
after a human fashion, that is, as a human individual. The 
Logos totus extra Jesum is the second person of the Trinity 
as such, with the scientia personalis; the Logos totus in Jesu 
is the same all-pervading and animating divine hypostasis, 
as the life principle of this individual, the God-man, whose 
individual consciousness is not absolutely all-embracing." * 
According to this view the Logos had a double life, one un- 
affected by the Incarnation, another in the man Christ 
Jesus, in which His action is so self-controlled as to leave 
room for a natural human development involving growth in 
stature, wisdom, and grace. Traces of such a view maybe 
found in Reformed authors, in reference to divine power. 
Zanchius speaks of the kenosis as involving not merely an 



' Vom doppelten Stande Christi. To the same effect in VergleichendeDarstel- 
iung, ii. p. 198, in disposing of three objections brought against Reformed Chris- 
tology by modern writers: that it allows the dualism of the two natures to remain 
unresolved, that it posits a double series of parallel states of consciousness in the 
God-man, and that its doctrinal point of view is purely traditional. To the last 
Schneckenburger replies by pointing to the communication of charisms, and the 
action of the Holy Ghost as the bond of union as fresh contributions to the doc- 
trine; to the first, by admitting the charge as inevitable; to the second, by repeat- 
ing the view given in the above extract, assigning the scientia personalis to the 
Logos per se, and the scientia habitualis to the Logos incarnate, or to Jesus in 
whom the Logos became incarnate. 



128 The Humiliation of CJirist. 

occultation of divine glory, but a withholding of divine 
omnipotence in Christ, supporting his view by a reference 
to the Ambrosian doctrine of retraction and Heidegger 
and Mastricht combine the idea of restraining or withdraw- 
ing with that of concealing, in their representation of the 
effect of the Incarnation on Christ's glory. 2 That no such 
statements occur in reference to omniscience, may be due 
to the felt difficulty of conceiving the application of the 
idea expressed by retentio to that attribute. Silence must 
not therefore be construed into a denial of its applicability. 
Rather ought regard to be had to other elements in the 
Reformed theory which seem to demand exclusion of 
omniscience from the consciousness of the man Christ 
Jesus. Such an element is the ignorance which the leading 
Reformed authorities do not hesitate to ascribe to Christ 
on earth. That ignorance they regard as real, not, like 
Cyril, apparent only or feigned. But how can it be real if 
the gemina mens means two series of parallel states of con- 
sciousness ? It is as hard to conceive of two such series 
keeping apart and having no communication with each 
other, as to conceive of two rivers flowing in the same 
channel without mixing their waters. Yet keep apart they 
must, if the ignorance is to be real, and, it may be added, 
if the Reformed theory is to be consistent with itself in 
opposing the communication of attributes taught by the 
Lutherans. For if the divine consciousness is to run into 
the human, so that the supposed ignorance of Christ shall 
simply mean that the knowledge He possessed in a partic- 
ular case did not come to Him through His human nature, 
what is this but the Lutheran communication — omniscience 
communicated to the soul of Christ in virtue of its personal 

1 De Incarnatione, lib. i. p. 35: Ergo retentio suae virtutis et omnipotentiae in 
ilia came xevcotfiS et exinanitio appellatur, et ideo ait Ambrosius quod Aoyos in 
carne potentiam suam et majestatem ab opere retraxit. The retentio, however, 
was not absolute. Deitas in ilia carne non statim, non semper, non Li omnibus, 
non abunde sese exeruit, sed quasi otiosa mansit. This otiositas was the hsvgo6iS. 

-P. 36- 

! Heidegger, Corpus Theologiae Chrisztanae, loc. xviii. , De Statu Jesu Christi: 
"gloriam suam . . . ad tempus occultavit, et cohibnit." Mastricht associates the 
word subducere with the verb occidtare. Theol. Theoret. Pract. lib. v. cap. ix. 
Pars exeget. 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 129 

union with the Logos. On the whole, then, having regard 
to the ascription by the Reformed to Christ of real ignor- 
ance in childhood and even in manhood, to their concep- 
tion of the union as mediated through the Holy Spirit, to 
their determined antagonism to the Lutheran communica- 
tion, and to their well-known formula: " The whole Logos 
beyond Jesus, the whole Logos in Jesus," — there does seem 
reason to think that the distinguished modern theologian 
just quoted has correctly interpreted the bearing of the 
Reformed theory on the point in question. 1 The concep- 
tion of a dotible life of the Logos is certainly a difficult one; 
to some it may even seem absurd or impossible. Yet the 
idea has commended itself to men distinguished both for 
their ability and for their theological independence, includ- 
ing a well-known and highly esteemed English essayist, 
who, in grappling with the problem of the reconciliation of 
Christ's divinity with the reality of His humanity, says: " If 
there be an indestructible moral individuality which con- 
stitutes self, which is the same when wielding the largest 
powers and when it sits alone at the dark centre, — which 
for anything I know may even live under a double set of con- 
ditions at the same time, — I can see no metaphysical 
contradiction in the Incarnation." 2 

4. The last outstanding feature of the Reformed Chris- 
tology remaining to be noticed, is the emphasis with which 
it asserts the likeness of Christ's humanity in all respects, 
sin excepted, to that of other men. Zeal for this truth, 
Schneckenburger justly remarks, is the distinctively Re- 
formed interest in Christology.* Not merely on theoretical 
but on religious grounds, the upholders of the Reformed 
theory of Christ's person were determined that the Saviour 
should be a true Son of man, our Brother and Head; and 
hence " a decided antidoketic realism " pervades their whole 
method of treating Christological subjects. 4 The influence 

1 Schweitzer (Die Glaubenslehre des Evangelischen Reformirten Kirche Dar- 
kest ellt und aits der Quellen belegt) takes the same view as Schneckenburger; vid. 
Appendix, Note D. 

2 Essays Theological and Literary, by R. H. Hutton, vol. i. p. 260. 

3 Vergleichen.de Darstellung, ii. p. 229, 

* Vergleichende Darstellung, ii. p. 229: Der entschiedenste antidoketische Re 
alismus beseelt die reformirte Betrachtungsweise. 



130 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of this motive is apparent in all the features of their system 
of thought already referred to, as well as in other peculiar- 
ities not yet mentioned; as, e.g., the representation of Christ, 
as man, as the subject of predestination, and as personally 
bound to obedience, and the analogy drawn between the 
Incarnation and regeneration, the union of the natures in 
Christ, and the mystical union of the believer to Christ, 
both being accomplished by the agency of the Holy Ghost. 
It may be observed, however, that the doctrine of the 
Jiomoiisia was not by any means so fully worked out in the 
early period as it came to be afterwards in the course of 
the 17th century. Some of the Reformed divines who lived 
near the time of the Reformation seem to have been half 
unconscious of the genius and tendency of their own theory, 
their views being by no means self-consistent or homoge- 
neous. This remark applies very specially to Zanchius, who 
while teaching the Reformed doctrine concerning Christ'a 
person in opposition to the Lutheran, nevertheless adopted 
almost in their entirety the views of Aquinas concerning the 
knowledge of Christ's soul and other topics; so making 
Christ's humanity every whit as unreal as it was in the 
Brentian system. The soul of Jesus, we are told, possessed 
in perfection from the first the vision of all things in God. 
Possessing this, it did not and could not possess faith as 
the evidence of things not seen, nor hope which rests on 
faith; for what a man sees he doth not hope for. That is 
to say, the man Christ Jesus, while represented as the 
recipient of all manner of gifts and graces, is yet declared 
to have been rendered by the hypostatic union incapable 
of exercising two of the cardinal graces — incapable of 
brotherhood with us in the faith which says: " I will put 
my trust in Him," and in the hope which cheers the soul 
under present tribulation, — being a comprchensor even while 
a viator, and therefore a pilgrim and a stranger on the 
earth only in outward guise ! 1 How widely different from 

1 De Incarnatione, lib. ii. quaestiones viii. xi. Le Blanc {Post/nima opuccula, 
cap. iii. p. 191) adverts to the different opinions among the Reformed de Scientia 
Animae Christi, and gives an account of those held by Zanchius in particular as 
peculiar to him and a few others. He underestimates the importance of the ques- 
tion when he calls it merely scholastic: " Quaestiones sunt mere scholasticae. " 



Lutheran and Reformed Christologies. 131 

these views those taught a century later by Hulsius, who 
represented Christ as like us in all respects save sin, and 
therefore in imperfection of knowledge which is not neces- 
sarily sinful; declared the happiness of Christ on earth to 
have been imperfect not less than His knowledge — being 
the felicity of one who was only a wayfarer to the blessed 
country {viator), not that of one who has arrived at the end 
of his journey, and at last attained possession of the object 
of his hope (eompre/iensor); nay, not even the felicity of 
Adam in paradise, such felicity being incompatible with 
His mediatorial office, which required Him to bear the 
guilt and to taste the misery of sinners. This Dutch divine, 
according to the account given of his views by Schnecken- 
burger, held that Christ's work as Saviour demanded that 
both His ignorance and His unhappiness should be most 
real, and he protested against any inferences being drawn 
from the hypostatic union prejudicial to their reality. The 
union must be so conceived of as to allow full validity to 
the " form of a servant." The prayer, " let this cup pass," 
and the natural fear out of which it sprang, must not be 
rendered a theatrical display by the overpowering physical 
influence of the divine nature upon the human. Rather 
than admit the agony and the fear in the garden to have 
been unreal, one may dare to say that, under the influence 
of extreme perturbation of mind, Christ for the moment 
forgot the divine decree under which He was appointed, by 
death to become the Saviour of sinners. Such forgetfulness, 
according to Hulsius, was not impossible. The knowledge 
of a decree as to habit is one thing, the actual conscious 
recollection of that knowledge is another thing; the latter, 
the vehemence of anxiety could take away, though not the 
former. A bold assertion this, of the important role played 
by Infirmity in the experience of Christ, which seems to 
justify the commentary of Schneckenburger: " Therefore 
even the heavenly decree, consequently His personal voca- 
tion, consequently His personal being, His esse divinum, 
His unto personalis, could the God-man in such moments 
forget; the act of cognition could cease, though not the 
habit (that is, the act could not so cease that it could not 
be forthwith restored). So little was the personal union, 



132 The Humiliation of Christ. 

and the thence resulting influence of the Logos upon the 
human soul, a power annulling natural, sinless weakness, 
and antagonistic to a truly human development and life 
course. The influence was not physical, but moral, depend- 
ing on the will of the Logos, which was minded to leave 
room for such a development." 1 But whether we be suc- 
cessful or not in reconciling the thorough reality of Christ's 
human nature and human experience with the doctrine that 
that nature and that experience belonged in very truth to 
the Son of God, there can be no doubt at all that we are 
bound by Scripture teaching to assert both in the most un- 
qualified manner, the reality of the humanity not less, 
though of course not more, than the reality of the divinity. 
As indicated in our seventh axiom, the humanity must be 
allowed to be as real as if Christ had been a purely human 

1 The work of Hulsius (Syslema Controversiaruni Theologicartim, Lugd. Bat. 
1677) I have failed to get a perusal of. It seems to be scarce even in Germany, 
for Ritschl in his Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versohmtng quotes him at 
second hand, — a fact to which Professor R. Smith of Aberdeen directed my •atten- 
tion. The above account of Hulsius' views is taken from Schneckenburger ( Ver- 
gieichende Darstdlung), who makes large use of this author in his chapter on the 
Reformed doctrine of the Redeemer's homousia with us. Ritschl doubts the accu- 
racy of Schneckenburger's representation of the views of Hulsius on Justification, 
and a certain amount of dubiety must attach to all statements which one has not 
the means of verifying. As, however, Schneckenburger gives a number of ex- 
tracts, there can be little doubt that his representation of the opinions taught by 
Hulsius is substantially correct. These opinions seem to have been set forth in a 
-ontroversial writing against the Catholic theory on the "Scientia et beatitudo 
eomprehensorum." Among the extracts given by Schneckenburger are these (vol. 
ii. pp. 237-240): Fuit nobis per omnia similis excepto peccato, ergo et quoad 
lmperfectionem scientiae nobis similis ... Id enim (beatitudo eomprehensorum) 
adversatur officio mediatorio, quo sponsoris persona in se pro peccatore suscipere 
debuit reatum et poenam peccati, adeoque miseriam, cui peccatum obnoxium 
reddit peccatorem . . . To exclude inferences in favour of the Catholic theory, 
from the Unio, it is said: Ab infiuentia physica ad moralem quae a voluntate pendet 
non valet consequentia. Habuisse humanitatem Christi praerogativas magnas ex 
unione hypostatica, sed inde inferri istam summam beatitudinem non admittebat 
forma servi . . . With reference to the agony: Per anxietatis vehementiam prae- 
sentem memoriam illius decreti fuisse oblatam (oblitam ?). Aliud ergo est decreti 
cognitio quoad habitum, aliud istius cognitionis actualis recordatio: hanc potuit 
tollere anxietatis vehementia, quoad momentum, illam non item. Schnecken- 
burger represents Hulsius as inferring ignorance of the exact bearing of the decree 
of election on individuals from Christ's tears shed over Jerusalem's impenitence. 
Had Christ known for certain that the inhabitants were doomed to perdition, He 
could not have earnestly wished to save them, or have wept because they would 
would not be saved. 



Ltitheran and Reformed Christologies. 133 

personality; and on that account it is permissible to speak 
of Him, as is freely done in the Gospels, as a human person, 
while not forgetting that He is at the same time a divine 
person. 1 If we find the reconciliation of the two aspects of 
the personality a hard task, we must not think of simplify- 
ing it by sacrificing some of the cardinal facts, least of all 
those pertaining to the human side, which give to the life 
of the Saviour all its poetry, and pathos, and moral power 
We must hold fast these facts, even if we should have to 
regard the person of Christ as an inscrutable mystery — 
scientifically an insoluble problem. 2 Till the era of the 
Reformation an opposite course was pursued. Believing in 
Christ's divinity, theologians thought it necessary, in the 
interest of faith, to reduce His humanity to a mere meta- 
physical shell emptied of all moral significance. The Council 
of Chalcedon had indeed said a word in behalf of the hu- 
manity; but its formula remained for the most part a dead 
letter. To the Reformed branch of the Protestant Church 
belongs the honour of having asserted with due emphasis 
the long neglected claims of the much-wronged human 
nature. Sincerely confessing the Saviour's divinity, they 
did not suffer their eyes to be so dazzled thereby that they 
could not look the facts of the gospel plainly in the face. 
To their mental views the sun was so obscured by the 
dense cloud of the state of humiliation, that they could re- 
gard the Incarnate One as He regarded Himself — as the Son 
of man, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. In 
Him they found rest for their souls as theologians, and stilJ 
more as sinners. 

1 On the views of the Reformed on the subject of the human aspect of Christ's 
personality, see Appendix, Note E. 

2 So Ritschl, Die Christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und VersOhmmg, 
iii. p. 394. 



LECTURE IV. 

MODERN KENOTIC THEORIES. 

DURING the last fifty years the minds of the learned in 
Germany have been extensively and intensely exercised 
upon theological problems. All the dogmas in the Chris- 
tian creed have been in turn made the subject of searching 
critical inquiry; sometimes in a sceptical spirit and with 
destructive intent, but much more frequently with a view 
to the conservation of the faith, and the reconstruction of 
the doctrinal system. The doctrine of our Lord's person 
has received its full share of attention in this great move- 
ment of modern religious thought; it has indeed been the 
subject of a quite extraordinary interest due in part to its 
intrinsic importance and attractiveness, but arising also in 
no small measure out of the ecclesiastical movement which 
had for its object the reunion of the two great branches 
of the German Protestant Church. This union enterprise, 
which commenced as early as the year 1817, naturally led 
to a consideration of the ground of separation, either in a 
spirit of antiquarian curiosity, or with the more serious 
purpose of determining the practical question: what was 
the intrinsic importance of the points of difference — were 
they of such a nature that they might rightly be treated as 
matters of forbearance, and therefore no barrier to church 
fellowship, by men not occupying the position of theolog- 
ical indifferentism ? And so it came to pass, that the 
scheme for bringing into closer relations the adherents 
of the two confessions, while only partially successful in 
attaining its avowed object, became the occasion of a most 
fruitful activity of mind, on the subjects involved in the 






Modern Kenotic Theories. 135 

great controversy between the Lutheran and Reformed 
churches. The tree of union flourished into a copious 
Christological literature, many-sided in its aspects, genial 
in tone, animated by a scientific truth-loving spirit, and of 
value far surpassing that of the ephemeral controversial 
writings, which similar movements in other lands have 
called into existence. 

Of this Christological literature the theories of the modern 
kenotic school, of which some account is to be given in the 
present lecture, form no insignificant part. The Christol- 
ogy of kenosis in its origin and aim had a close connection 
with the union movement: it offered itself to the world, in 
fact, as a union Christology. Its advocates said in effect, 
some of them said expressly: x We have studied the 
Lutheran and the Reformed Christologies; we have made 
ourselves thoroughly familiar with their respective positions,, 
and with the arguments by which these were defended; we 
find both in their old forms untenable; but in this new, yet 
most .ancient scriptural doctrine of kenosis, we bring some- 
thing different from either of the old Christologies, yet 
having affinities with both, which therefore we hope will be 
accepted by the members of the two communions as the 
common doctrine of a reconstructed church. This claim to 
a two-sided affinity, made in behalf of the kenotic theory, 
has prima facie support in the fact that the theory numbers 
among its adherents distinguished theologians belonging 
to both confessions; and it does not altogether break down 
on closer investigation. There are at least footpaths, if 
not highways, along which one may advance to the kenosis, 
both from Lutheran and from Reformed ground. You may 

1 Gaupp, e. g., who in his work, or pamphlet rather, entitled Die Union, 
Breslau 1847, expounds the kenotic theory under the title of a Ver7nittelungsver 
such, after having previously subjected both the Lutheran and the Reformed doc- 
trines to a critical review in which their weak points are exposed. This little work 
contains some interesting historical particulars concerning the union movement 
from the year 181 7 down to 1846, when the General Synod was held, at which a 
formula of ordination was framed containing a summary of the fundamental doc- 
trines of the sister churches. Gaupp charges this Ordinations-formutar with 
intentional ambiguity designed to meet the case of persons who were in doubt 
even about fundamentals, instancing the case of a comma after Gott dem Vater, 
making it possible for opponents of the Church doctrine of the Trinity to apply 
the word "Gott " to the Father alone ! — P. 169. 



136 The Humiliation of Christ. 

reach the kenotic position from the Lutheran territory 
along the path of the communicatio idiomatum, simply by 
the inverse application of the principle; teaching with ref- 
erence to the earthly state of Christ a communication of 
human properties to God, instead of a communication of 
divine properties to man. You may reach the same pos- 
ition from the Reformed territory along the path of the 
cxinanitio, to which the Logos became subject in becoming 
man, by assigning thereto a positive meaning, and convert- 
ing the Reformed occultatio or quasi-exinanitio into a real 
self-emptying of divine glory and divine attributes. These 
hints may suffice to indicate in a general way the relation 
of the modern theory to the older forms of the doctrine 
current in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The 
precise respects in which the new and the old modes of 
thought agree or differ will become apparent as we proceed. 
An exposition of the various kenotic theories of Christ's 
person may be fitly introduced by the remark, that it is a 
feature common to modern Christologists of all schools, 
to insist with peculiar emphasis on the reality of our Lord's 
humanity. It is admitted on all hands that every Christo- 
logical theory must be reckoned a failure, which does not 
faithfully reflect the historical image of Jesus as depicted 
in the Gospels, and allow Him to be as He appears there, 
a veritable, though not a mere man. In this respect modern 
Christology, under all its phases, follows the Reformed 
rather than the Lutheran tendency. But this cordial and 
earnest recognition of Christ's true and proper humanity 
gives increased urgency to the question, How is the human- 
ity to be reconciled with the divinity ? Some have an- 
swered the question by denying the Incarnation in the sense 
■of the creeds, and the doctrine of the Trinity on which it 
rests, and representing Jesus as divine, simply inasmuch as 
He was a perfect man, divinity and humanity being re- 
garded as essentially one. Of the views of this school I 
will give some account in the next Lecture, though they 
are not very closely connected with our whole inquiry, the 
very idea on which it is based being rejected by its mem- 
bers. Our business at present is with those only who build 
their Christolocrv on the old foundations, and who set 



Modern Kenotic Tlieories. 137 

themselves the task of constructing a theory of Christ's 
person according to which He shall be at once true God 
and true man; or, to speak more exactly, with one section 
of what may be called the modern orthodox party. For 
those who have addressed themselves to the common prob- 
lem in a conservative spirit have not all followed the same 
method in solving it. Three different solutions have been 
suggested; one by Schneckenburger, consisting in a re- 
statement, with explanations or modifications, of the old 
Reformed theory; another by Dorner, who, in his great work 
on the history of the doctrine, propounds or rather hints 
the theory of a gradtial Incarnation, leaving ample room 
for a true normal human development, for which he claims the 
valuable support of Luther's earlier Christological views; 
the third solution being the kenotic theory, which seeks to 
make the manhood of Christ real, by representing the 
Logos as contracting Himself within human dimensions 
and literally becoming man. It is this third solution which 
is now to engage our attention. 

The idea of kenosis in the modern sense, to be carefully 
distinguished from the meaning attached to the term in 
the old Giessen-Tubingen controversy, 1 seems to have been 
first broached by Zinzendorf, the founder of the Moravian 
Brotherhood. The grain of thought cast by him into the 
ground lay dormant for a hundred years; then in the fourth 
decade of the present century, it began to germinate, and 
ever since it has gone on multiplying abundantly, till now 
the kenotic school has attained considerable dimensions, 
and can number its adherents among theologians by scores. 
The forms which the new theory assumes in the hands of 
its expounders are scarcely less numerous than the ex- 
pounders themselves. It would probably be difficult to find 
two writers who state the common doctrine in precisely 
the same way. Happily, however, it is possible to reduce 
the many diverse shapes of this Protean Christology to a 
few leading types, which, though they may not compre- 
hend all the subordinate phases of opinion, do at least fairly 
and sufficiently represent the outstanding characteristics 
of the school as a whole. 

1 See Appendix, Note B, Lect. iii. 



138 The Humiliation of Christ. 

The dominant idea of the kenotic Christology is, that in 
becoming incarnate, and in order to make the Incarnation 
;n its actual historical form possible, the eternal pre-existent 
Logos reduced Himself to the rank and measures of human- 
ity. But when this general idea has been announced, three 
questions may be asked regarding it. First, is the depo- 
tentiation relative or absolute ? that is to say, does it take 
place simply so far as the Incarnation is concerned, leaving 
the Logos per se still in possession of His divine attributes; 
or does it take place without restriction or qualification, so 
that, pro tempore at least, from the moment of birth till the 
moment of exaltation, the second person of the Trinity is 
denuded of everything pertaining to Deity, but its bare, 
naked, indestructible essence ? Second, in what relation 
does the depotentiated Logos stand to the man Jesus ? Is 
He the soul of the man, or is there a human soul in the 
man over and above ? Is the Logos metamorphosed into 
a human soul, or is He simply self-reduced to the dimensions 
of a human soul, in order that, when placed side by side 
with a human soul, He may not by His majesty consume 
the latter, and render all its functions impossible ? Third, 
how far does the depotentiation or metamorphosis, as the 
case may be, go, within the person of the Incarnate One ? 
is it partial, or is it complete ? does it make Christ to all 
intents and purposes a mere man, or does it leave Him half 
man, half God, — in some respects human, in other respects 
superhuman ? All these questions have been variously 
answered by different writers. Some teach a relative 
kenosis only, some an absolute; some take a dualistic view 
of the constitution of Christ's person, as formed by the 
union of the depotentiated Logos, with a human nature 
consisting of a true body and a reasonable soul; others re- 
gard the person of Christ from a metamorphic point of 
view, making the self-emptied Logos take the place of a 
human soul. Finally, there are differences among the 
kenotic Christologists as to the extent to which they carry 
the kenosis, — somebeing Apollinaristic in tendency, though 
careful to clear themselves from suspicion on that score; 
others inclining to the humanistic extreme. Had each of 
the possible combinations of these three sets of alternatives 






Modern Kenotic Theories. 139 

its representative among the writers of this school, the 
task before us would be formidable indeed. Fortunately, 
however, we are not required by the history of opinion to 
be mathematically complete in our exposition, but may 
content ourselves with giving some account of fotir dis- 
tinct kenotic types, which may for the present be intel- 
ligibly, if not felicitously, discriminated as, (1) the absolute 
dualistic type, (2) the absolute metamorphic, (3) the abso- 
lute semi-metamorphic, and (4) the real but relative. Of 
the first, Thomasius may conveniently be taken as the rep- 
resentative; of the second, Gess; of the third, Ebrard; and 
of fourth, Martcnsen. 

(1) Thomasius? the earliest advocate of the kenosis in 
the present century, in setting forth his views, exhibits 
great solicitude to clear himself of the charge of doctrinal 
innovation. He claims to have the ecclesiastical consensus 
on his side, and professes to be in sympathy both with the 
patristic and with the old Lutheran Christology. He 
recognises the Chalcedon Formula as fixing the limits 
within which theories laying claim to orthodoxy must con- 
fine themselves; 2 and he regards his own theory as the 
legitimate outcome of the fundamental principles on which 
the Lutheran doctrine of Christ's person is based. He ad- 
mits, of course, that the old Lutherans did not teach the 
kenotic theory; but he holds that " the dialectic of the 
dogma " inevitably leads thereto. The Lutheran con- 
ception of the union of the natures demands one of two 
things: either that the infinite should come down to the 
finite, or that the finite should be raised to the infinite.* 

1 The statement of the views held by this author is based exclusively on the 
work, Christi Person und Werk, Erlangen 1856. Thomasius propounded his 
theory in an earlier publication, entitled Beitrage zur Kirchlichen Ckristologie, 
1845, being a reprint of articles which had previously appeared in the Zeitschrift 
fur Protestantismus und Kirche. The Beitrage is simply a brief rudimentary 
sketch of the scheme elaborated in the larger and later work. 

- Christi Person und Werk, vol. ii. pp. 11 2- 1 15. 

3 The author quotes a passage from the writings of the Tubingen theologians 
who took part in the old kenotic controversy, to show that they had the two alter- 
natives present to their minds: Ex necessitate consequitur, aut infinitam rov Xoyov 
vno6za6iv ad finitam carnis praesentiam (ad fines humanae naturae) esse de- 
tractam, aut humanam naturam assumptam ad infinitam vif66ra6iv (ad majes- 
tatem infinitatis et omnipraesentiae) evectam esse. Person und Werk, ii. pp. 
483, 484. 



140 The Humiliation of Christ. 

The old Lutherans took the latter way, and found that it 
let them into insuperable difficulties; therefore modern 
Lutherans, who would be faithful to the first principles of 
Christology taught by their fathers, must forsake the ancient 
path of the majestas, and strike into the new path of the 
kenosis. 

Our guide into the new way leads us along the following 
line of thought. The life image of the Redeemer, as it lies 
open to view in the Gospel, is that of a genuinely human 
personality. Jesus is a man, the Son of man, and it seems 
as if the proper subject of this person were the human Ego. 1 
But, on the other hand, in these same Gospels Jesus appears 
as more than man; He speaks of Himself as standing in a 
peculiar relation to God; He is spoken of as having existed 
personally before He appeared in the world, as the Logos 
who was in the beginning, and was with God, and was God; 
and in view of these facts it seems as if the Divine should 
be regarded as the proper subject of this person. 2 Yet 
there are not two Egos in Christ, but only one, who is con- 
scious at once of His premundane being in God, and of 
His intramundane human existence, as both appertaining 
to Himself. It is the same Ego who says of Himself, " Be- 
fore Abraham was, I am," and, " I came forth from the 
Father, and am come into the world;" the same Ego of 
whom it is written, that He is the absolute Truth, and that 
He called on God with strong crying and tears. 8 Christ 
having pre-existed as the Son of God before He became 
man, the Ego of the Son of God is to be regarded as the 
proper person-forming principle of the Incarnation. The 
Incarnation itself is to be regarded in two lights, — as 
the assumption by the Son of God of human nature 
in its integrity, 4 and as the self-limitation of the Son 
of God in the act of assuming human nature. 5 The latter 
is necessary in order to the former. Were there no self- 
limitation, — did the Son of God, in the human nature as- 
sumed by Him, continue in His divine mode of being and 
working, in His supramundane status, and in the infinitude 

1 Person und Werk, ii. pp 14. 16. - Ibid. ii. p. 22. 

3 Ibid. ii. p. 24. * Ibid. ii. p. 126. 

6 Ibid. ii. p. 141. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 141 

of His world-ruling, world-embracing government, the 
mutual relation of the two united natures would involve a 
certain duality. The divine would in that case embrace 
the human, as a wider circle a narrower; with its knowledge, 
life, and activity, the former would far outreach the latter; 
the extra-historical, the temporal; the in-itself-complete, 
that which is in process of becoming; the all filling, all 
determining, that which is conditioned and bound down to 
the limits and laws of earthly existence. The conscious 
ness of the Logos per se would not coincide with that of 
the historical Christ, but would, as it were, hover over it; 
the universal activity, which the former continues to exer- 
cise, would not be covered by the theanthropic action of 
the Incarnate One in the state of humiliation. That is to 
say, there would be no true Incarnation. 1 Therefore the 
theanthropic person can be constituted only by God really 
taking part in a human mode of existence, as to life and 
consciousness; and the Incarnation must consist in this, 
that the Son of God enters into the form of human finitude, 
into an existence subject to the limits of space and time, 
and to the conditions of a human development. 2 That is, 

1 Person und Werk, ii. p. 141: Bleibt namlich Er, der ewige Sohn Gottes, in 
der endlichen von ihm assumirten, menschlichen Natur in seiner gOttlichen Seins- 
und Wirkungsweise, beharrt er in seiner iiberweltlichen Weltstellung, in der Un- 
Deschranktheit seines weltbeherrschenden und weltumfassenden Wakens, so bleibt 
auch das gegenseitige Verhaltniss beider immer noch mit einer gewissen Duplicitat 
behaftet. Das GOttliche tiberragt dann gleichsam das Menschliche wie ein weiter 
Kreisden engern, es geht mit seinem Wissen, Leben, und Wirken unendlich weit 
daruber hinaus, als das Aussergeschichtliche uber das Zeitliche, als das in sich 
Vollendete liber das Werdende, als das Allerftillende und Allesbestimmende tlber 
das Bedingte, an die Grentzen und Gesetze des irdischen Daseins Gebundene. Das 
Bewusstsein, das der Sohn von sich und von seinem universalen Walten hat, fallt 
mit dem des historischen Christus nicht in eins zusammen, — es schwebt gleichsam 
liber ihm; die universale Wirksamkeit, welche jener fortwahrend iibt, deckt sich 
nicht mit seinem gottmenschlichen Thun im Stande der Erniedrigung, — es liegt 
daruber oder dahinter; " wahrend der Logos in allerftillender Gegenwart die 
Schopfung durchwaltet, ist der Christus auf das Gebiet der ErlOsung, zeitweilig 
wenigstens auf einem bestimmten Raum eingeschrankt." Es ist also da eine 
zwiefache Seinsweise, ein doppeltes Leben, ein gedoppeltes Bewusstsein, der Logos 
ist oder hat noch immer etwas, was nicht in seiner geschichtlichen Erscheinung 
aufgeht, was nicht auch des Menschen Jesus ist — und das scheint die Einheit dei 
Person, die Identitat des Ich zu zerstoren; es kommt so zu keiner lebendigen und 
vollstandigen Durchdringung beider Seiten, zu keinem eigentlichen Menschsein 
Gottes. * Ibid. ii. p. 143. 



142 The Hnmiliatio7i of Christ. 

Incarnation is for the Son of God, necessarily, self-limita- 
tion, self-emptying, not indeed of that which is essential 
to Deity in order to be God, but of the divine manner of 
existence, and of the divine glory which He had from the 
beginning with the Father, and which He manifested or 
exercised in governing the world. 1 Such is the view given 
by the apostle in the Epistle to the Philippians, 2 such the 
view demanded by the evangelic history; for on no other 
view is it possible to conceive how, for example, Christ could 
sleep in the storm on the Sea of Galilee. What real sleep 
could there be for Him, who as God not only was awake, 
but, on the anti-kenotic hypothesis, as ruler of the world, 
brought on, as well as stilled, the storm ? 8 

This doctrine, according to its author, while scriptural, 
satisfies at the same time all theological requirements. 
For one thing, it complies with the Lutheran axiom: " The 
Word not outside the flesh, nor the flesh outside the 
Word" (nee verb um extra c anient, nee caro extra verbuiri).* 
Then the personality of Christ becomes what it ought to be, 
a divine-human personality. The Son of God continues to 
be Himself, yet, having undergone kenosis in the manner 
aforesaid, He is at the same time a human Ego. 5 Christ 
is the personal unity of divine essence and humankind, the 
man who is God. 6 Furthermore, on this theory the two 
natures are preserved entire and distinct. On the one hand, 
God is not destroyed by self-limitation, for self-limitation 
is an act of will, therefore not negation but rather affirma- 
tion of existence. The essence of God is not stiff, dead 
substance, but out and out will, life, action, self-asserting, 
self-willing, self-controlling self. 7 Self-limitation, therefore, 
does not contradict the essence of the absolute. The ab- 
solute were impotence if it could not determine itself as it 
wills. Then it must be remembered that God is love; and 
if limits are to be placed to God's power of self-exinanition, 

1 Person und Werk, ii. p. 143. "- Ibid. ii. p. 148. 

* Ibid. ii. p. 156. 1 Ibid. ii. p. 201. 

5 Ibid. ii. p. 200. 

6 Ibid. ii. p. 203: Christus 1st die persOnliche Einheit gOttlichen Wesens und 
menschlicher Art: der Mensch, welcher Gott ist. 

7 Ibid. ii. p. 203: Es ist sich selber setzendes, wollendes, seiner schlechthin 
machtiges Selbst. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 143 

they must be wide enough to give ample room for His love 
to display itself. God may descend as far as love requires. 
Love was the motive of the Incarnation, and love is the 
sole measure of its depth; otherwise God is not the abso- 
lutely free, His power is not servant to His will, but a tyrant 
over it. 1 On the other hand, the humanity too remains 
intact. For, according to our author, it is assumed entire, 
with a reasonable soul as well as a body; the doctrine of 
metamorphosis being repudiated as destructive at once of 
humanity and of divinity. 2 Then, on this theory, the hu- 
man nature is not only entire as to its constituent parts, 
but it possesses personality, and is no mere selfless me- 
dium. 8 Christ is conscious of being a man, not less than 
of being the Son of God. The Son of God, entering into 
the existence form of creaturely personality, made Himself 
the Ego of a human individual; and hence His conscious- 
ness was specifically human, — the consciousness of a man 
limited in nature, and possessing both a body and a soul, 
having the same contents and the same conditions as ours. 
The only difference between Christ and us is this, that 
the Ego in Him was not originally born out of the human 
nature, but was rather born into it, in order to work itself 
out of it, and through it, into a complete divine-human 
person.* Yet again, this theory, according to its author, 
does not disturb the immanent Trinity, for it makes the Son 
of God, in becoming man, part with no essential attributes of 
Deity It strips Him, indeed, of omnipotence, omniscience, 
and omnipresence, the Redeemer being, during His earth- 
ly state, neither almighty, nor omniscient, nor omnipresent. 
But these are not essential attributes of God, they are 
only attributes expressive of His free relation to the 
world which He has made; attributes, therefore, not of the 
immanent, but only of the economical Trinity, with which 
God can part and yet be God, retaining all essential attri- 

1 Person und Werk, ii. p. 204. 

2 The author makes such repudiation in connection with the views of Hahn and 
Gess, who represent the Logos as taking the place of a human soul or spirit in 
Christ. Vid. ii. p. 196. 

3 Ibid. ii. pp. 201-207. 

< Ibid. ii. pp. 206-208. The author's view is stated briefly in the text. Those 
who possess the work referred to are recommended to read the whole passage. 



144 The Humiliation of Christ. 

butes of Diety. — absolute power, absolute truth, absolute 
holiness and love. 1 These last the Son of God did retain 
when He parted with the other relative attributes; far from 
losing them in becoming incarnate, He rather entered into 
a state in which He had an opportunity of revealing 
them. For the humiliation of Christ was not all kenosis; 
it was revelation as well as exinanition. It meant exinan- 
ition so far as the relative attributes of Deity were con- 
cerned, — self-emptying of omnipotence, omniscience, and 
omnipresence. 2 But it meant also, and partly on that very 
account, revelation, manifestation of the absolute essential 
attributes, — of absolute might as free self-determination, 
of absolute truth as knowledge of His own being and of 
His Father's mind, of absolute holiness and love. 3 Finally, 
the kenosis, while complete so far as the relative attributes 
of Deity are concerned, is nevertheless not a state of help- 
less passivity. Even when the passivity is at its maximum, 
— in the conception, in death, — the kenosis is free, and 
reaches its highest points of activity. In these moments 
the Son of God makes the highest display of His obedience 
towards God; they are the magna opera of His redeeming 
love, thought, willed, done by Himself. Hoiv, we may not 
be able to explain, but the fact is so. A right conception 
of what is meant by potence helps, at least, to understand 

1 This distinction between the relative and essential attributes of God is the 
speculative foundation of the Thomasian Christology. For a detailed exposition 
of the author's doctrine of the attributes and of the Trinity, the reader is referred 
to Chris ti Person und Werk, vol. i. pp. 47-136. 

5 Person und IVerk, ii. p. 238. The miracles of Christ our author does not 
regard as evidence of omnipotence; they were wrought through the Holy Spirit, 
and proved not Christ's divine nature, but only His divine mission. Vid. p. 250. 

3 Ibid. ii. pp. 236, 237: Es ist Offenbarung der immanenten gottlichen Eigen- 
schaften, der absoluten Macht, Wahrheit, Heiligkeit und Liebe. . . . Und diess 
gilt nicht bios von den beiden zuletzt genannten, auch die beiden ersten eignen 
ihm in dem fruher (I. Th. § II u. 16) bezeichneten Sinne: die absolute Macht als 
die Freiheit der Selbstbestimmung, als der sein selbst volkommen machtige Wille, 
die absolute Wahrheit als das klare Wissen des Gottlichen um sich selbst, naher, 
als das Wissen des Menschgewordenen um sein eigenes Wesen und um den Willen 
des Vaters. Nicht gelernt hat er diesen in irgend einer menschlichen Schule; 
innerlich, vermOge seiner Einheit mit dem Vater, schaut er dessen ewige Ge- 
danken. The author goes on to say, that though this knowledge was only grad- 
ually developed through the Holy Ghost, it was but a development of what lay in 
the depths of Christ's being. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 145 

the mystery. Potence, as the word implies, does not sig- 
nify something impotent or empty, but being contracted to 
its innermost ground, fulness concentrated in itself from 
the circumference of appearance and activity, having there- 
fore power over itself. Such power was latent in the Log- 
os, even after He had been reduced, through Incarnation, 
to the state of a mere potency. 1 

(2) In constructing a theory of Christ's person to corre- 
spond with the historical facts, as inductively ascertained, 
Gess" 1 lays stress on three scriptural representations of the 
Incarnation, in which that event is exhibited, (1) as an out- 
going from the Father, (2) as a descent from heaven, and (3) 
as becoming flesh. By the first of these representations, 
the author understands an exit, on the part of the pre-exis- 
tent Logos, out of the intimacy of His communion with the 
Father, 8 having for its result, not a dissolution of the 
mutual indwelling of the Father, Son, and Spirit, but a 
suspension of the influx of the eternal life of the Father 
who hath life in Himself into the Son, in virtue of which 
the Son pro tempore ceased to have life in Himself. The 
Son, in becoming man, lost the consciousness, and with the 
consciousness the activity, and with the activity the capacity 
to receive into Himself the influx of the Father's life, and 
to cause that instreaming life to flow forth from Himself 
again.* By the descent from heaven is signified the humili- 

1 Person und Werk, ii. p. 243: Beides lasst sich in den Begriff der Potenz zu- 
sammenschliessen, von welcher wir sagten, dass sich der Logos, menschwerdend, 
auf sie zurtickgezogen habe. Denn die Potenz ist, wie schon der Ausdruck an- 
deutet, nicht etwas Ohnmachtiges oder Leeres, sondern das in seinem innersten 
Grunde zusammengefasste Wesen, die aus der Peripherie der Erscheinung und 
Actuositat in sich concentrirte unendliche Fulle, welche ebendeshalb die Macht 
ihrer selbst ist. Und diese Macht tragt auch das gOttliche Selbstbewusstsein, 
zwar nicht als reftectirtes, gegenstandliches, doch aber als latitirendes, mithin als 
wirklich vorhandenes in sich. Es ist mit einbegriffen in der freien Willensthat, 
kraft deren der Gottmensch sich selbst dahingibt. Vid. Appendix, Note A, for 
an account of the kenotic literature coming under the Thomasian type. 

s The following statement of Gess' theory is based on his work, Die Lehre von 
der Person Christi entwickelt an; dem Selbstbewusstsein Christi und aus devi 
Zeugnisse der Apostel, Basel 1856. The author has published a new larger work 
on the same theme, entitled Christi Person und Werk, of which the first volume 
has for its subject the self-witness of Christ. No material change of view appears 
in this volume. 

3 Die Lehre von der Person Christi, p. 294. 4 Ibid. ii. p. 307. 



146 The Humiliation of Christ. 

ation or kenosis whereof the apostle speaks; which, accord 
ing to the most natural interpretation of the words, imports a 
transition, on the part of the Logos incarnate, from a state 
of equality with God into a state of dependence and need, 
a laying aside of His pretemporal glory; that is, not merely 
of the blessed life in light, but of the life which is indepen- 
dent and self-sufficient, and of which omniscience and 
omnipotence are attributes. 1 These attributes, therefore, 
the Logos parted with in His descent from heaven; nay, 
not only with these so-called relative attributes, but also 
with those which Thomasius by way of distinction names 
the immanent attributes of Deity. Incarnation involved 
the loss not only of the perfect knowledge of the world, 
called omniscience, but of the perfect vision of God, denom- 
inated in the Thomasian theory absolute knowledge. 2 For 
the Logos, in becoming man, suffered the extinction of His 
eternal self-consciousness, to regain it again after many 
months, as a human, gradually developing, variable consci- 
ousness, sometimes, as in childhood, in sleep, in death, 
possessing no self-consciousness at all. 3 All this is inevit- 
ably involved in becoming flesh, for this third scriptural 
representation of the Incarnation signifies, that the flesh 
with which the Logos was united became for Him a deter- 
mining power, even as, apart from sin, it is a determining 
power for the ordinary human soul. According to the 
creative decree of God, the life development of the soul 
depends upon the development of the body; it requires a 
certain maturity of the physical organization for the soul to 
waken up to self-conscious voluntary life, in order that 
thereafter, as personal soul, it may gradually subject its 
bodily organ to the laws inscribed on itself by the hand of 
divine holiness. Christ's life was subject to the same 
decree. It was first a natural life, in which the Logos was 
subject to the power of the flesh; then it became a personal 
life, in which the Logos became self-conscious, and made 

1 Die Lehre von der Person Christi, ii. p. 296. 

2 Ibid. p. ii. 311. Gess disallows the Thomasian distinction between relative and 
immanent attributes, and remarks, that if the doctrine of kenosis is to be built on 
such an insecure foundation, it is in a bad way. P. 312. 

3 Ibid. ii. p. 312. 



Modem Kenotic Theories. 147 

the flesh subject to Himself, until, at the close of His 
human development, the body of His flesh became trans- 
formed into a glorious body, that is, a body fitted to be 
the perfect organ of the Logos, once more restored to the 
fulness of divine life. 1 In virtue of this subjection to the 
determining power of the flesh, it came to pass that, when 
the Logos in the child Jesus began to be self-conscious, He 
knew nothing of His Logos-nature, and did not waken up 
forthwith to the Logos-work of world-quickening, illumin- 
ation, and government, but only to the work of calling 
"my Father, my mother," 2 and of distinguishing between 
good and evil. Doubtless the potence, the abstract capa- 
city for these works, was there from the first, for the 
Logos-essence remained unchangeable; the attributes of 
omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence may be said to 
have simply entered into a state of rest; but it was a rest 
out of which they could not return into a state of activity, 
so long as the moving power, the eternal self-consciousness, 
on which they all depend, was itself not there. 8 How and 
when, then, did the Logos, plunged by Incarnation into the 
oblivion-causing waters of Lethe, at length attain to 
self-consciousness ? Was it by recollection of His pre- 
existent state ? Not principally, for a clear and constant 
recollection would be incompatible with a life of faith. 4 Or 
was it by reflection and inference exercised on Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures ? This was undoubtedly one means to- 
wards self-knowledge. The birth of Christ in the midst of 
the Jewish race made it possible for Him to attain to a 
knowledge of who He was, by the way of a truly human 
development. Had He been born a Greek, that would have 

1 Die Lehre v. d. Person Christi, ii. pp. 308, 309. s Ibid. ii. p. 306. 

3 Die Ablegung der Allwissenheit und ewigen Heiligkeit kann als ein unmog- 
licher Gedanke erscheinen, aber die Sache wird klar, wenn man zurtickgeht auf die 
Wurzel des Selbstbewusstsein. Mat dem allwissenden Ueberschauen der Welt war 
aber zugleich auch das allverm5gende Regieren derselben aufgegeben, und mit 
diesem das Allem Gegenwartig sein. Nicht als waren diese VermOgen schlecht- 
weg dahingewesen: die Logoswesenheit war ja auf Erden dieselbe, wie zuvor im 
Himmel, man kann also sagen, diese VermOgen waren nur in den Stand der Ruhe 
getreten, aber in eine Ruhe, aus welcher sie nicht in die Aktivitat zuriickkehren 
konnten, so lange die sie bewegende Kraft, nehmlich das ewige Selbstbewusstsein 
selbst, nicht als solches da gewesen ist. — Die Lehre v. d. Person Christi, ii. p. 317. 

* Ibid. ii. p. 355. 



148 The Humiliation of Christ. 

been impossible. 1 At the same time, it is not to be supposed 
that self-consciousness was reached merely by reflection 
and inference. There must have been latent in the incar- 
nate Logos a certain instinct, as men call that mysterious 
gift whose true name is an inspiration of God. 5 As the 
children of God know themselves to be such by the witness 
of the Spirit; as the prophets knew that God had called 
them, and had made a revelation to them, by an inward 
assurance based on an intercourse between the divine 
Spirit and the human soul, whose laws elude our compre- 
hension, but whose reality is indubitable; so the knowledge 
possessed by Jesus of the secret of His person was based 
upon the peculiarly intimate fellowship which subsisted 
between His Father and Himself. 3 And for the rest, who 
will deny that the recollection of the pre-existence might 
occasionally flash through into the human consciousness 
of the Incarnate One ? 4 As for the time at which the 
Logos incarnate attained to a clear self-consciousness, it 
cannot be precisely determined. The morning twilight of 
His self-knowledge appeared when He was a boy of twelve 
years; the perfect day had arrived by the time He went 
forth to commence His ministry. Between twelve and 
thirty the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the 
flesh, had become fully revealed to the Incarnate mystery 
Himself. 5 Probably the revelation took place long before 
He had reached the latter period of life; for Jesus had to 
learn to wait as none other ever had. In all likelihood, 
it was a part of His discipline, that He had to wait for the 
appointed time for commencing His life-work long after 
He had become aware what the work was to which He 
was called. 6 

' Die Lehrev. d. Person Christi, ii. pp. 357-8: Unter den Griechen geboren, 
hatte Jesus sich nicht auf dem Wege wahrhaft menschlicher Entwicklung als den 
Sohn Gottes zu erkennen vermocht. 

2 Ibid. ii. p. 358: Jenes Geheimnissvolle, das man etwa den geistigen Instinc! 
nennt, dessen eigentliches Wesen aber ein Anhauch Gottes ist. 

3 Ibid. ii. p. 358. 

4 Ibid. ii. p. 358: Und wer wollte schlechthin leugnen, dass in einzelnen Mo- 
men ten die Erinnerung der Praexistenz den Fleischgewordenen durchblitzen 
mochie? Nur dass sie zur bleibenden Leuchte seines Inneren geworden sei, ddrfen 
wir um des oben angeluhrten Grundes willen nicht annehmen. 

s Ibid. ii. p. 359. 6 ibid. ii. p. 361. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 149 

Here, then, we have a tolerably complete metamorphosis 
of the Logos, manifestly standing in great need of adjust- 
ment to correlated doctrines. What, e.g., on this theory, 
is to be said of the integrity of Christ's assumed humanity ? 
The Logos, to all intents and purposes, is transformed into 
a human soul; does He then assume another human soul 
over and above ? Gess replies in the negative. The 
Church, he says, quite properly affirmed, in opposition to 
Apollinaris, that Christ had a true human soul; but it did 
not see, what however is the truth, that the Logos Him- 
self was that soul. He did not assume, He became a hu- 
man soul, and thereby the presence of another soul was 
rendered entirely superfluous. 1 The only possible objec- 
tion to calling the incarnate Logos a human soul is, that 
His soul was not derived from Mary; but this objection has 
force only for those who hold the traducian theory con- 
cerning the origin of souls, which however is untenable 
according to our author, all souls coming directly from 
God. The only difference between the Logos and a human 
soul was, that he became human by voluntary kenosis, 
while an ordinary human soul derives its existence from a 
creative act. 2 And how, again, are we to think on this 
theory of Christ's moral integrity, His sinlessness ? Was 
that sinlessness, admitted as a fact, due to an inability to 
sin (?ion posse peccare), as in the Apollinarian system, which 
made the Logos take the place of a human spirit in Jesus, 
in order to get rid of the bare possibility of sin ? Not so, 
according to our author. A capability of sinning {posse 
peccare) must be ascribed to Christ, otherwise the reality 
of His humanity is denied. To represent the Saviour as 
from the first in possession of a will unalterably decided for 
God, is to revive in a new form the error of Apollinaris, 
who made an unchangeable being take the place of the 
changeable human soul. 8 The loss of eternal holiness was 

1 Die Lehre v. d. Person Christi, ii. p. 321: Dass eine wahrhaft menscbliche 
Seele in Jesu war, versteht sich fur und von selbst: er war ja sonst kein wirklicher 
Mensch. Aber die Frage ist, ob der in's Werden eingegangene Logos selbst 
liese menschliche Seele, oder ob neben dem in's Werden eingegangenen Logo? 
noch eine besondere menschliche Seele in Jesu war? P. 324: Wozu diese Dop- 
pelheit und wer kann sie versteherz* 

2 Ibid. ii. p. 325 ff. 2 Ibid. ii. p. 349. 



i5o The Humiliation of Christ. 

one of the accompaniments of Incarnation. Not that there 
is any need for asking in alarm, what would have happened, 
had the possibility been converted into an actual fact, for 
the Incarnation proceeded upon a divine foreknowledge 
that the Incarnate Logos would not fall into sin; a fore- 
knowledge which at the same time in no way interfered 
with Christ's freedom, or imposed upon Him an eternal 
necessity of not sinning. 1 That Christ was simply an or- 
dinary man, who in virtue partly of His peculiar birth hap- 
pened not to sin, is not asserted. Our author is not will- 
ing to admit that his doctrine amounts to a metamorphosis 
of the Logos into a man; he is anxious to make it appear 
that there was a superadamitic element in Jesus. 2 But he 
contends that that element did not consist in a non posse 
peccare, but only in an extraordinary devotion, on the part 
of the Incarnate Logos, to His Father's will, which was 
accompanied by an equally extraordinary measure of the 
Spirit's indwelling and influence, and of knowledge con- 
cerning divine things. 3 

The theory in question stands in need of adjustment also 
to the received doctrine of the divine unchangeableness and 
to the doctrine of the Trinity. How is it possible, one may 
well ask, that a Divine Being can thus all but extinguish 
Himself? The ready reply is: It is possible just because 
He is God, and not a creature. The dependence of an 
ordinary man appears, not merely in his inability to raise 
himself to a higher scale of being than he was designed for, 
but also in his inability to make his life cease, or to reduce 
it into a state of unconsciousness. The Logos, on the 
contrary, has life in Himself; His voluntary reception of 
the life streaming into Him out of the Father is the ground 



1 Die Lehrevonder Person Christi, ii. p. 318. 

• Ibid. ii. p. 350; In dieser Erkenntniss dass der irdische Entwicklungsgang des 
Sohnes die Moglichkeit des Slindigens in sich schloss, und dass eben diess zur 
Aufgabe Jesu gehorte, den Naturzug seines ewigen Geistes zu Gott zum gehei- 
ligten Charakter zu erheben, darf uns auch die Frage nicht irre machen, was doch 
geworden ware, wenn der, welcher slindigen konnte, wirklich gesilndigt hatte. 
Die Antwort, welche auf diese Fra^'e gegeben werden kann, ist nur die, dass Gott 
sein s-Ondloses bestehen aller Yersuchungen vorausgesehen hat. 

3 Ibid. p. 331, note in reply to Liebner. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. i5i 

of His life, His self-consciousness is His own deed. 1 Hence 
He can extinguish His self-consciousness; He would not be 
almighty if He had not power over Himself. The power 
of God indeed is not limitless, nor is His freedom arbitrary. 
But the only limit of divine power is holiness or love. If, 
therefore, the holy love of God desires to help us, and if 
for that end Incarnation is necessary, and if Incarnation 
involves in its very nature transient extinction of the divine 
self-consciousness, and the resumption of the same as 
human, and subject to growth, then such an experience 
must be possible. 2 

How, finally, is this metamorphic theory of the Incarna- 
tion to be reconciled with the doctrine of the Trinity ? 
The author admits that his theory involves these four con- 
sequences for the internal life of the triune God: (i) the 
eternal forth-streaming of the divine life of the Son out of 
the Father is brought to a stand during the time of the 
kenosis; (2) for that reason, during the same time, the Son 
cannot be the life-source out of which the Holy Ghost 
flows; (3) during that time the subsistence of the world in 
the Son, its upholding and government through the Son,. 
is suspended; (4) as the glorified Son remains man, from 
the time of His exaltation a man is taken up into the trin- 
itarian life of God. He remarks that the three first con- 
sequences could easily be got rid of by adopting the theory 
of a double life of the Logos, and holding that while the 
Son of God, as the man Jesus, emptied Himself utterly of 
divine glory, and lived, our like, with purely human conscious- 
ness and will, nevertheless His divine trinitarian being and 
rule underwent no interruption. He declines, however, to 
adopt this view, and prefers to escape difficulties by adjust- 
ing the doctrine of the Trinity to his own theory. This he 
does by introducing into the Trinity a certain inequality 
between the persons. The Father alone possesses the 
property of being from Himself (aseity). The Son, indeed, 
also hath life in Himself; but it is as a gift of the Father's 



' Vid. Zweiter Abschnitt, cap. 3, p. 222, "Die gOttliche Herrlichkeit Jesu anf 
Erden." 
9 Ibid. p. 310. 



1 52 The Humiliation of Christ. 

eternal love. 1 If the relation between the persons were one 
according to which they were all mutually conditioning 
and conditioned, then the kenosis would either be impossible, 
or it would imperil the Godhead of the Father. But as the 
Father alone possesses aseity, and as it is His free love 
which begets the Son, it is possible for the Father, during 
the period of exinanition, to substitute, for the overflow of 
His life into the Son, that gentle influx of life into Jesus, 
wave by wave, which corresponds to the Son's position as 
a man subject to gradual development in time, 2 reserving 
to Himself, the while, the government of the world and the 
administration of the Spirit. Nor does this change affect 
the eternity of divine life, or of the generation of the Son 
(though that process during the exinanition comes to a 
temporary pause 3 ), or of the procession of the Holy Ghost 
from the Son. Eternity does not consist in the exclusion 
of change. The eternity of the Father lies in His aseity; 
the eternity of the Son and Spirit in the freedom of their 
life, which streams forth from the Father, and is essentially 
equal to the life of the Father. By entering into time, and 

1 Die Lehre von der Person Christi, p. 396 ff. In proof that the Father alone 
possesses aseity, Gess refers to the text: "The Father hath given the Son to have 
life in Himself," and to the fact that in Scripture the Father is called Der Gott, 
while the Son is called only Gott, and that He is also called the God of Christ 
(pp. 402, 403). 

-' Ware das Gottsein des Vaters durch die ewige, ewig gegenwartige Zeugung 
des Sohnes bedingt, so liesse sich nicht verstehen, wie der Sohn sich seiner Got- 
tesherrlichkeit entaussern, wie die ewige Zeugung des Sohnes durch den Vater, 
das ewige Austromen des Gotteslebens vom Vater in den Sohn sich stille stellen 
kann: die Gottheit des Vaters selbst wurde dadurch gefahrdet scheinen. Noch 
-weniger ware die Selbstentausserung des Sohnes mOglich, wenn auch diesem ein 
.Antheil zukame an Gottes Aseitat, an Gottes Selbstbegrundung, so dass nur in der 
• dreipersOnlichen Selbstbegtlrndung Gottes, wie jede der drei Personem, so die 
Totalitat derselben ihr Leben hatte. Aber es ist die freie Liebe des Vaters, 
■welche den Sohn zeugt, darum kann der Vater, filr die Zeit der Selbstentausserung 
•des Sohnes, an die Stelle der vollen UeberstrOmung des Gotteslebens vom Vater 
in den Sohn jenes sanfte Einfliessen einer Lebenswelle um die andere in Jesum 
eintreten lassen, welches dem Eingegangensein des Sohnes in die Verhaltnisse 
eines allmahlig sich entwickelnden, iiberhaupt der Zeitlichkeit unterworfenen 
Menschen entspricht. — Die Lehre von der Person Christi, p. 403. 

3 Ibid. ii. p. 405. The glorification of Christ after the time of exinanition was 
past, consisted in the recommencement of the process of eternal generati )n which 
took place immediately afier, so that the Son of God had power to raise His own 
body. — Vid. also pp. 380-382. 



Modern Kenotic Tfieories. 153 

undergoing kenosis for thirty years, the Son did not become 
subject to time, but rather revealed the eternal as the King 
of time. To master time, so that it shall not stand over 
against the supra-temporal as an unapproachable Other, 
but be a form of existence at His command, is God's highest 
revelation of His eternity. 1 ~ 

(3) The kenotic theory as expounded by Ebrard pos- 
sesses interest not only as a distinct type of the doctrine, 
but as a contribution to the literature of the subject, by a 
prominent modern representative of the Reformed com- 
munion, professing cordial, though not slavish, attachment 
to the doctrinal tendency of his church. Ebrard first pro- 
mulgated his view of the person of Christ in a work on the 
dogma of the Holy Supper, published in 1845-46, and de- 
signed to promote the cause of union; and subsequently at 
greater length in a work on Christian dogmatics, published 
in 185 1-52. 3 This able, learned, but somewhat whimsica.' 
and unreliable writer, agrees with Gess in making the in- 
carnate Logos take the place of a human soul. The ancient 
Church was of course right in maintaining, against Apol- 
linaris, that Christ had a true human soul; for, in truth, 
the Logos, in undergoing Incarnation, became a human 
soul. According to the representation in Scripture, Jesus 
did not consist of a body in which, in place of a human 
soul, dwelt the eternal Logos — a monstrous conception — 
the eternal Logos dwelling in a space-bounded body ! but 
the eternal Son of God in becoming man gave up the form 
of eternity, and in full self-limitation assumed the exis- 
tence-form of a human life-centre, of a human soul; had, 
as it were, reduced Himself to a human soul. 4 This self- 

1 Die Lehre von der Person Christi, pp. 405, 406: Dieses freie Hineintreten 
in die Zeitlichkeit, urn wieder zurtickzukehren in die Ewigkeit, ist also gerade ein 
Triumphiren der Ewigkeit liber die Zeitlichkeit, eine Erweisung des Ewigen als 
des KOniges der Zeit welche ihm dienen muss, indem er sich in ihren Dienst be- 
giebt und welche ihn nicht festhalten kann, nachdem er sein Werk vollbracht. 
KOniglich die Zeit zu bemeistern, dass sie dem Ueberzeitlichen nicht als ein un- 
nahbares Anderes gegentibersteht, sondern als eine Form seines Daseins zu Gebote 
steht, das ist Gottes hOchste Offenbarung seiner Ueberzeitlichkeit. 

* See Appendix, Note B, on literature belonging to the Gessian type. 

3 See Appendix, Note C. 

4 Christliche Dogmatik, ii. p. 40: Der ewige Sohn Gottes hatte die Form der 
Ewigkeit aufgegeben und in freier Selbstbeschrankung die Existenzform eines 



1 54 The Humiliation of Christ. 

reduction, however, does not in the scheme now under 
review, as in that of Gess, amount to a depotentiation of 
the incarnate Logos. The Son of God in becoming man 
underwent not a loss, but rather a disguise of His divinity; 
not, however, in the old Reformed sense of occultation, but 
in the sense that the divine properties, while retained, were 
possessed by the Theanthropos only in the time-form 
appropriate to a human mode of existence. The Logos, in 
assuming flesh, exchanged the form of God, that is, the 
eternal manner of being, for the form of a man, that is, the 
temporal manner of being. Herein consisted the kenosis. 1 
The kenosis does not mean that Christ laid aside His omni- 
potence, omnipresence, and omniscience; but that He re- 
tained these in such a way that they could be expressed or 
manifested, not in reference to the collective universe, but 
only in reference to particular objects presenting themselves 
to His notice in time and space. Omnipotence remained, 
but in an applied form, as an unlimited power to work 
miracles; omniscience remained in an applied form, as an 
unlimited power to see through all objects which He wished 
to see through; omnipresence remained in an applied form, 
as an unlimited power to transport Himself whither He 
would. 3 The incarnate Son of God stood over against 
nature as the absolute Lord ruling over it in a free creative 
manner; not, indeed, in the form of world-governing omni- 
potence, but in the form of omnipotence applied to par- 
ticular cases, in particular times and places. Though He 
no longer possessed eternal omniscience, yet He possessed, 
in reference to particular objects which came in His way, 
a knowledge which, compared with the knowledge of sin- 

menschlichen Lebenscentrums, einer menschlichen Seele, angenommen, hatte 
sich gleichsam bis zu einer Menschenseele reducirt. See also vol. ii. p. 7, note on 
the miraculous conception, where we read: jene dvvamS Gottes hatte nicht das 
Geschaft, eine Seele (ein Lebenscentrum) zu erzeugen, sondern sie hatte nur das 
weibliche ovulum so zu verandern, dass der Sohn Gottes welcher, in die Form der 
unbewussten Seele eingehend, als solche zugleich in's ovulum eingehen wollte, im 
ovulum alien zur Bildung einer embryonischen Leiblichkeit nothigen Stoffvorfand. 

1 Christliche Dogmatik, ii. p. 34: Die uofxprj Gsov gab er auf, d. h. das 16a 
Sea>, das "auF gleiche Art wie Gott sein," also die Ewigkeitsform, und nahm 
ilaftlr die Form der Menschheit {6xij,uoc dv^poDrtov). Similarly, Das Dogma 
von H. A., i. p. 191. 

2 Das Dogma von keil. Abendmahl, ii. p. 790. 



Modem Kenotic Theories. 1 55 

ful man, is altogether supernatural. In walking on the 
sea, He exhibited a wonder of applied omnipresence. 1 In 
the use of these powers He was subject to His Father's 
will; but, nevertheless, they were inherent in His person; 
He had free control over them; it is conceivable that He 
might have made a wrong use of them, and herein lay the 
point of the temptation in the wilderness. 2 

Ebrard accepts the Chalcedonian formula — two natures 
in one person; but he puts his own meaning on the word 
" natures." By the two natures he understands not two 
parts or pieces, two subsistent essences united to each other, 
but two abstracta predicated of the one Christ; two aspects 
of the one divine human person. In particular, the human 
nature was not an existing thing, but only a manner or 
form of being, a complex of properties. The thesis, the 
Son of God assumed human nature, is equivalent to this: 
that the Son of God, giving up the form of eternity and en- 
tering into time-form, and beginning to exist as a human life- 
centre, formed for Himself out of this life-centre a human- 
ity in the concrete sense, that is, a human body, soul and 
spirit, or all momenta and essences which the human life- 
centre needed for its concrete being and life. Hence the 
divine nature and the human nature stand related to each 
other as essence and form: Divine nature as an abstractum 
is predicated of Christ, because He is the eternal Son of God 
entered into a time-form of existence, possessing the ethical 
and metaphysical attributes of God (that is, God's essence) 
in a finite form of appearance. Human nature is predicated 
of Christ, because He has assumed the existence form of 
humanity, and exists as centre of a human individuality 
with human soul, spirit, body, development. Christ is 
therefore not partly man, partly God, but wholly man; but 
if the question be asked, who is this, the answer must be: 
He is the Son of God, who has by a free act denuded Him- 

1 Dogmatik, ii. pp. 20, 29. 

5 Ibid. ii. pp. 30, 31. The view stated above, Ebrard defends against l-ange, 
who maintains [Leben Jesu) that Jesus was conditioned by the will of the Father, 
not merely in the voluntary use of His miraculous power, but in the possession of 
the power itself, just like any of the prophets. This position Ebrard holds to be 
contrary to Scripture. 



1 56 The Humiliation of Christ. 

self of His world-governing, eternal form of being, and 
entered into the human form of beiiiL, r . It is a divine person 
who has made Himself a human person. 1 Ebrard reckons 
it as the fault of Nestorius, and after him of the old Luther- 
ans (whom he charges with Nestorianism, resulting in the 
state of exaltation, in the opposite extreme of Eutychian- 
ism), that the two natures of Christ were treated as con- 
cretes. On the other hand, he claims for the old Reformed 
Christologists a clear understanding of the true state of 
the case. They meant just what he teaches when they said, 
that in the Incarnation a divine person was not united with 
a human person, or a divine nature with a human nature; 
but a divine person assumed a human nature. 8 In one 
respect only did they come short, viz. in reference to the 
question how the concrete consciousness and life of the 
person Christ are to be conceived. On this point, accord- 
ing to our author, the Reformed Church has never attained 
to a clear understanding; the reason, in his judgment, being, 
that the Christology of that Church has failed to grasp the 
distinction between the eternity-form (Ewigkeitsforni) and 
the time-form {Zcitlichkcitsforni) of the divine essence. The 
Reformed theologians, notwithstanding their controversy 
with the Lutherans, came at last to think of the incarnate 
Logos as world-governing, and possessing omnipotence, 
omniscience, and omnipresence in reference to the universe 
at large, — a view which came practically to the same thing 
as the Lutheran one. All the difference was this: the 

1 Dogmatik, ii. pp. 41, 42: Die nat. div. und die nat. hum. sind also nicht zwei 
Subsistenzen oder Theile in Christo, sondern zwei abstracta, die von dem Einen 
Christus pradicirt werden. GOttliche Natur wind von ihm pradicirt, sofern er der 
in die Zeitiorm eingegangne ewige Sohn Gottes ist, und die ethischen und meta- 
physischen Eigenschaften Gottes, d. h. das Wesen Gottes, wiewohl in endlicher 
Erscheinungsform, besitzt. Menschliche Natur wird von ihm ausgesagt, wiefern 
er die Existenzform der Menschheit angenommen hat, und als Centrum einer 
menschlichen Individualitat mit menschlicher Seele, Geist, Leib, Entwicklung 
existirt. (Gottliche Natur: menschliche Natur=Wesen: Existenzialform.) Er ist 
also nicht theilweise Mensch und theilweise Gott, sondern er ist ganz Mensch; aber 
aufdieFrage: Wer ist dieser? (nicht, was?) heisst der Antwort: der, der dieser 
Mensch ist, ist der Sohn Gottes, der sich in freiem Akte seiner weltregierenden 
Ewigkeitsform begeben, und in die menschliche Seynsform versetzt hat. Er ist 
also Eine Person, die. persona divina, welche sich zu einer persona humana ge- 
macht hat. 

1 Ibid. ii. p. 41. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. i5t 

Lutheran taught that the human nature in the status ex- 
inanitionis either renounced or did not exercise omni- 
science, etc., while the Logos at the same time retained and 
used it, so that the latter knew all, while the former did not; 
the Reformed, on the other hand, taught that the Logos 
incarnate was omniscient, and in the world-governing sense, 
while the human nature was not. Both positions alike 
were virtually Nestorian. 1 The true view is, that the powers 
of the eternal Godhead revealed themselves in Christ, not 
alongside of the powers of His humanity, not as superhu- 
man, but in the powers of His humanity; even herein, that 
His human powers were supernatural, that is, exceeded the 
capacities of nature as depraved by sin, and He was abso- 
lutely superior to this depraved nature, so that when and 
where He wished to work it formed no limit to His power. 2 
By this view our author believes the problem is solved: 
how the divine and the human attributes which constitute 
the two natures can co-exist in the same person without 
cancelling each other. The divine attributes remain in an 
applied form, and in that form they are truly human. Ap- 
plied omnipotence is simply the dominion of the spirit over 
nature, which belongs to the idea of man. Applied omni- 
science is the dominion of the spirit over the objects of 
knowledge, to which man was originally destined. Applied 
omnipresence, the power to be where one wills, is simply 
the dominion of the spirit over the material body, which 
man was designed to attain; the body in its ultimate idea 
not being a foreign burden subject to elementary influences, 
but a free projection of the soul in space, released from all 
subjection to the elements, to death, or to the law of grav- 
ity. 3 Whether this be a successful solution of the problem 
in hand or not, it will be apparent that it is at all events a 
very different view of the historical Christ from that which 
we had last under consideration. Gess' view of Christ is 
thoroughly humanistic; Ebrard's, on the other hand, has far 
more of the divine element in it, and wears a much more 

1 Abendmahl, ii. p. 792. Ebrard gives Zuingli and Olevian credit for having 
clearer views than most of the Reformed on the subject of the divine attributes. 
* Dogmatik, ii. p. 143. 
8 Abendmahl, i. pp. 192, 193. Dogmatik, ii. pp. 28, 29. 



1 58 The Htimiliation of Christ. 

decided appearance of Apollinarism. As if to compensate 
for the Apollinarian tendency on the metaphysical side, 
our author is most decidedly anti-Apollinarian in the view 
he takes of the ethical aspect of Christ's humanity, ascribing 
to the incarnate Logos a posse peccare, representing Him as 
gaining confirmation in obedience by the practice of it under 
trying circumstances, reaching the higher freedom through 
the right use of freedom of choice, and gaining heavenly 
glory strictly as a reward of His filial virtue — all this being 
demanded by the time-form of existence. 1 

We now understand in what sense the kenotic theory as 
taught by Ebrard can be described as metamorphic. The 
metamorphosis consists simply in an exchange of the eter- 
nal for the time-form of existence; an exchange which, 
once made, is perpetual. 2 It remains to be added that this 
change of form is not relative merely, but absolute; involv- 
ing the absolute and perpetual renunciation of the eternal 
form of being, not simply the renunciation of it with ref- 
erence to the incarnate life of the Logos. Our author is 
indeed at this point extremely difficult to understand, and 
I am doubtful whether the words just used correctly de- 
scribe his position, or even whether his position be a self- 
consistent one. For, on the one hand, he says in one 
place that there is nothing in Scripture to countenance the 
idea that the Logos retained the form of eternity on enter- 
ing into the time-form, and while He was in Christ, gov- 
erned the world over and above. 3 But, on the other hand, 
he recognises it as a part of the Christological problem to 
be solved: how can the Logos, conscious of Himself as the 
eternal, be also conscious of the man Jesus existing in time 
as Himself? and, on the other hand, how can the man 
Jesus, existing in time, be conscious of the eternal Logos 

1 Dogmatik, ii. p. 22. 

? Ibid. ii. p. 37: Form der Menschheit und Form der Evvigkeit (im Sinn voa 
Ueberzeitlichkeit) schliessen sich schlechthin aus; Christus hat die letztre fur immer 
aufgegeben, die erstre fur immer angenommen, und der Uebergang aus der unter 
dem Tod geknechteten Menschheit in die vom Tode befreite, verklarte, hat im 
Verhaltniss seiner gOttlichen Natur zu seiner menschlichen nichts geaiidert. 

3 Dogmatik, ii. p. 35: Die h. Schrift weiss nichts davon, dass der \6yoZ die 
Form der Ewigkeit beibehalten habe, und wahrend er in Christo war, nebenbei 
auch nod die Welt regiert habe, sondern er ward Mensch. 



Modem Kenotic Theories. i5q 

as Himself? in other words, is a unity of consciousness be- 
tween the eternal and the incarnate Logos conceivable ? ' 
The same problem is also put in this form: How is a per- 
sonal unity between the world-governing Son of God in the 
Trinity and the incarnate Son of God, who has given up the 
form of eternity, possible, the one being world-governing, 
omniscient, etc., while the other is not? 3 It is true the 
problem is regarded as a psychological one, and may be 
said to have for its aim to demonstrate the possibility of 
conscious personal identity surviving the change from the 
eternal to the time-form of existence. But the very terms 
in which the problem is stated seem to show that the 
eternity-form is not thought of as having ceased to exist. 
Indeed, it is expressly admitted that such language is 
meaningless with reference to the Eternal. Speaking 
strictly, we ought not to say the Son of God has given up 
the Eivigkeitsform, for in eternity there is no " has " and 
no " given up." Words implying tense are inapplicable to 
eternity, whose relation to time is not such that one can 
say eternity is before time, or after it, or during it. 3 Then, 
further, supposing the psychological problem to be satis- 
factorily solved for the period of Christ's mature manhood, 
that is, granting that then the man Jesus could be conscious 
of His identity with the eternal, world-governing Logos, 
which is all that is claimed as made out, 4 what of the period 
of immaturity, of childhood ? With reference to this pe- 
riod, the author remarks that identity of person is not to 
be confounded with unity or continuity of consciousness. 6 
Perfectly true; but the question is not as to identity of the 
person, but as to the combination in the same person of 

1 Abendmahl, i. p. 186: Ob sich der seiner als eines ewigen, bewusste Logos, 
des zeitlich existirenden Menschen als seiner selbst bewusst seyn konne, und ob der 
zeitlich existirende Mensch Jesus sich des ewigen Logos als seiner selbst bewusst 
seyn konne; oh also eine Einheit des Bewusstseins zwischen dem ewigen und dem 
menschgewordenen Logos denkbar sei. 

2 Dogmatik, ii. p. 144: Wie ist zwischen dem weltregierenden Sohn Gottes in 
der Trinitat und dem menschgewordenen Sohn Gottes, der die Ewigkeitsform auf- 
gegeben hat, eine personliche Einheit denkbar ? Jener ist weltregierend allwissend, 
dleser nicht. 

3 Ibid. ii. p. 146. 4 Ibid. ii. p. 145. 

s See Appendix, Note D, tor an account of Ebrard's method of solving th« 
problem. 



160 The Humiliation of Christ. 

two modes of existence; a question which must surely be 
answered in the affirmative, if it be admitted that the Lo 
gos was self-conscious even when the child Jesus was ut- 
terly unconscious. This position Ebrard, so far as appears, 
does not call in question, and therefore it might be legiti- 
mate to represent his theory as one which teaches only a 
relative metamorphosis of the Logos, — a change in the form 
of existence which is after all not so much an exchange, as 
the adding of one form of existence to another. Such is the 
sense in which the theory has been understood by some of 
its author's own countrymen, 1 and the correctness of the 
interpretation might with some confidence be inferred from 
the fact that a double existence is expressly taught by other 
writers whose Christological views come nearest to the 
Ebrardian type. Nevertheless it is not advisable to force 
on any author a doctrine which he seems disinclined to 
hold, and therefore we must reckon it as the character- 
istic of the present type of kenosis, that it teaches an ab- 
solute and perpetual exchange of the Eternal for the time- 
form of existence, as necessarily involved in the idea 
of Incarnation. 

(4) Martensen? on the other hand, is beyond all doubt 
an advocate of a real yet only relative kenosis. This dis- 
tinguished Danish theologian, in whose writings are finely 
blended philosophic insight and poetic grace, distinguishes 
between the Logos revelation and the Christ revelation. 
The revelation of the Son of God in the fulness of time implies 

1 By Gess, at least, who, having quoted a passage from Schoberlein (Grttnd- 
lehren des JJei/s), to the effect that the Logos incarnate has a double existence, 
and that we must recognise at once a real kenosis and a possession, yea, a use 
without concealment of the divine glory, adds in a note: " Aehnlich Ebrard in der 
Dogmatik." Die Lehre von der Person Ckristi, p. 390. On the other hand, 
Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, ii. p. 24, seems to understand the exchange of eternity- 
form with the time-form taught by Ebrard as an absolute one. With reference, 
and in opposition, to Ebrard's view he remarks: Aber auch so ist es nicht, dass 
er die Ewigkeitsform mit der Zeitlichkeitsform vertauscht hat, sondern aus seinem 
geschichtlichen Stande der Ueberweltlichkeit, des weltbeherrschenden Konnens 
und Wollens und Gegenwartigseins ist er, der hier und dort gleich Ewige, in die 
Innerweltlichkeit, in die menschliche Umschranktheit des Daseyns und Wissens 
und Konnens eingegangen, die eine geschichtliche Bethatigung seines ewigen We- 
sens mit der andern vertauschend. 

2 Die Christ liche Dogmatik, Deutsche Ausgabe, Berlin 1856, pp. 221-272. 



Modem Kenotic Theories. 161 

a pre-existence, which does not signify merely an original 
being in the Father, but also an original being in the world. 
As the Mediator between the Father and the world, it be- 
longs to the essence of the Son to live not only in the 
Father, but also in the world. As " the heart of God the 
Father," He is at the same time the eternal heart of the 
world, through which the divine life flows into the creation. 
As the Logos of the Father, He is at the same time the 
eternal world-Logos, through whom the divine light rays 
forth into the creation. He is ground and source of all 
reason in the creation, whether in man or in angel, in 
Greek or in Jew. He is the principle of law and promise 
in the Old Testament, the eternal light which shines in the 
darkness of heathendom; all holy germs of truth to be 
found in the heathen world have been sown in the souls of 
men by Him. He is the eternal principle of providence, 
amid the confusion of the world's life; all forces of nature, 
all ideas and angels, being ministering instruments of His 
all-ordering, all-guiding will. But, in His pre-existence, 
He is only the essential, not the real Mediator between 
God and the creature; the contrast between Creator and 
created is cancelled in essence only, not in existence; the 
variance between God and the sinful world is done away 
with only in idea, not in life. Therefore it was needful 
that the pre-existent Logos should become man, and sup~ 
plement the Logos-revelation by a Christ-revelation. 1 The 
novel element in the latter is such a union of the divine 
and human natures that a man appears on the earth as the 
self-revelation of the divine Logos, as the God-man? The 
eternal omnipresent Word became flesh, was born into 
time. That, however, does not mean that, with the Incar- 
nation, the eternal Logos ceased to exist in His general 
world-revelation, or that the Logos, as self-conscious per- 
sonal Being, was inclosed in His mother's womb, was born 
as an infant, grew in knowledge; for such a representa- 
tion is incompatible with the idea of birth. Temporal 
birth necessarily implies a progress from the unconscious 
to the conscious, from possibility to reality, from germ to 
mature organization; and any other mode of conceiving 

1 Dogmatik, pp. 221, 222. - Ibid. p. 224. 



1 62 The Humiliation of Girist. 

the birth of the God-man must be characterized as doketic 
The birth of the Logos means that He enters into the 
bosom of humanity as possibility, as a holy seed, that He 
may arise within the human race as a mediating, redeem- 
ing', human revelation; that the divine fulness individual- 
izes itself in a single human life, so that the entire sum of 
holy powers is herein involved. That the Son of God was 
in His mother's womb not as a self-conscious divine Ego, 
but as an immature unborn child, is indicated by the words 
of the angel to Mary: " That holy thing which shall be 
born of thee shall be called the Son of God." 1 But as that 
holy thing, in the course of growth, became conscious of 
Himself as a human Ego, in the same measure He became 
conscious of His Godhead, and knew Himself as a divine 
human Ego, because the fulness of Godhead was the life- 
ground of His human life; knew Himself as not only hav- 
ing part in the divine Logos, but as the divine-human con- 
tinuation of the everlasting life of Godhead. Hence, while 
Christ said, " I and the Father are one," — an affirmation 
of unity implying a personal distinction, — He never said, 
" I and the Logos are one," because He was the Logos 
revealing Himself in human form. 1 

In view of these statements, it is easy to see in what sense 
the kcnosis is to be understood. It means that the Logos, 
qua incarnate, possesses His Godhead in the limited forms 
of human consciousness. He is true God; but, in the Christ 
revelation, the true Godhead is never outside the true hu- 
manity. It is not the naked God we see in Christ, but the 
fulness of Godhead within the compass of humanity; not 
the properties of the divine nature in their unlimited world- 
infinitude, but these properties transformed into properties 
of human nature; the omnipresence becoming the blessed 
presence of Him who said: " Whoso seeth me seeth the 
Father; " the omniscience becoming the divine-human wis- 
dom which reveals to the simple the mysteries of the king- 
dom; the omnipotence becoming the world-conquering and 

1 Luke 1. 35: to yevvcj/.i£vov ayiov (neuter). 

2 Dogmatik, pp. 244, 245: Obgleich daher Christus zeugt: "Ich und der Vater 
sind Eins," sagt er doch niemals: Ich und der Logos sind Eins. Denn er ist die 
menschliche Se/6stoffenba.r\ing des gottlichen Logos. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 163 

completing might of holiness and love of Him, to whom was 
given all power in heaven and on earth. Christ, in pos- 
session of these transformed attributes, is not less God than 
the Logos in His universal world-revelation; for the Deity 
of the Son is the Deity of the Mediator God, or of God as 
the revealer of God; and in no form is the Son in a truer 
sense the Mediator and the Revealer of God, than in the 
form of the Son of man. 1 And while the kenosis is per- 
fectly compatible with essential Deity even in the Son of 
man, it does not exclude the continued existence of the 
Logos as the Mediator and Revealer for the world at large. 
As the omnipresent Logos, the Son of God continues to 
shine through the whole creation. 2 He lives a double life: 
as the pure divine Logos, He works throughout the king- 
dom of nature, preparing the conditions for the revelation 
of His all-completing love; as Christ, He works through 
the kingdom of grace and redemption, and indicates His 
consciousness of personal identity in the two spheres, by 
referring to His pre-existence, which to His human con- 
sciousness takes the form of a recollection? 

On two points Martensen does not fully explain himself: 
the human soul of Christ; and the question, How is the 
duality in the life of the Logos to be reconciled with the 
unity of His personality ? As to the former, though it is 
nowhere said, it seems to be tacitly implied, that the incar- 
nate Logos took in Christ the place of a human soul. The 
latter topic also the author passes over in discreet silence, 
thinking it better, possibly, to attempt no solution, than to 
offer his readers such an abstruse speculation as that by 
which Ebrard endeavours to explain how the Eternal and 

1 Dogmatik, pp. 247, 248. 

2 Ibid. p. 246: Als der allgegenwartige Logos die ganze Schopfung durch- 
leuchtet. 

3 Ibid. p. 247: Wohl aber mtissen wir sagen dass der Sohn Gottes in der 
Oekonomie des Vaters ein doppeltes Dasein fllhrt, dass er ein Doppelleben lebt in 
weltschopferischer und weltvollendender Thatigkeit. Als der reine Gottheitslogos 
durchwirkt er in Alles erflillender Gegenwart das Reich der Natur, wirkt die Vor 
aussetzungen und Bedingungen fur die Offenbarung seiner Alles vollendenden 
Liebe. Als Christus durchwirkt er das Reich der Gnade, der Erlosung, und Vol- 
lendung, und weist zurlick auf seiner Praexistenz. See also p. 250, where Christ 
b spoken of as recollecting His pre-existence* Erinnert er sich seiner ewigen Pra. 
existenz und seines Aus 'angs vom Vater. 



164 TJic Humiliation of Christ. 

the Incarnate Logos can have an identical consciousness. 1 
He animadverts on the dualism, not to speak of the mon- 
strosity, introduced into the person of Christ by the old 
orthodox Christology, according to which Christ, as a child 
in the cradle, secretly carried on the government of the world 
with the omniscience that work required; while, at the same 
time, in His human nature He grew in knowledge and wis- 
dom. By such a grotesque representation, he contends, 
the unity of the person is annulled, two parallel series of 
conscious states which never unite are introduced, and the 
result is in effect a Christ with two heads. 3 But the friends 
of antiquated orthodoxy might turn round and ask: What 
better are we on your theory ? You say we teach a Christ 
with two non-communicating or non-coincident conscious- 
nesses, or with two heads; you teach a Logos with a double 
life: one in the world at large, another in the man Jesus; 
infinite in the former, limited, self-emptied, in the latter; 
a mere unconscious possibility to begin with, and never ex- 
ceeding the measures of humanity: show us the possibility 
of such a double life, and its compatibility with a single 
personality. This demand some believers in a real but 
relative kenosis treat as legitimate, and attempt to satisfy. 
Martensen seems to have preferred to regard the problem 
as a mystery, deeming the kenosis in the sense explained 
an indubitable Scripture doctrine and historical fact, and 
the continued activity of the world-sustaining Logos an 
obvious corollary from His distinctive function as the Me- 
diator and Revealer in relation to the universe, and not 
holding himself bound to reconcile the two, any more than 
to clear up in a perfectly satisfactory manner any other 
mystery of the Christian faith. 8 

Such are the leading forms which the modern kenotic 
theory has assumed in the hands of its advocates. In pro- 
ceeding now to a critical estimate of this theory, certain 

1 See Appendix, Note D. 

? Dogtnatik, p. 249: Die Einheit der Person wird aufgehoben, und wir be- 
kommen in Christo zvvei verschiedene Bewusstseinsreihen, die niemals zusammeu 
gehen werden. Wir bekommen gleichsam einen Christus mit zwei KOpfen, eic 
Bild, welches nicht nur den Eindruck des Uebermenschlichen sondern des Mon 
strosen macht, und dem die ethische Wirkung fehlt. 

' Vid. Appendix, Note E, for literature belonging to the Martensen type. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. i65 

general considerations suggest themselves, which may here 
be submitted by way of preface. 

I. The theory in question, whether tenable or not, is at 
all events animated by a genuinely orthodox interest; as, 
indeed, might be inferred from a rapid glance at the roll of 
its supporters, which includes, in addition to those already 
mentioned, the names of such men as Delitzsch and Hof- 
mann, whose orthodoxy, in the catholic sense, is above 
suspicion. Kenosis, in all its forms presupposes the Church 
doctrines of the Trinity and the pre-existence of the Lo- 
gos. The very aim of the theory is to show how the eter- 
nally pre-existent Son of God, second person of the Trin- 
ity, by a free self-conscious act of self-exinanition, made 
Himself capable of Incarnation after the manner recorded in 
the Gospels. It is true, indeed, that some advocates of the 
kenotic Christology have deemed it necessary to lay a foun- 
dation for the self-emptying of the Logos in a conception 
of the Trinity, or of the Trinitarian Process, as it is called, 
which involves a Subordinatian view of the relation of the 
Son to the Father. 1 But the abler or more cautious mem- 
bers of the school avoid this opinion in their statement of 
the doctrine; 2 and there does not appear to be any neces- 
sary connection between the kenosis implied in the Incar- 
nation, and an eternal inequality of the persons within the 
immanent Trinity. In every Christological theory it is a 
problem why the Son and not the Father became incar- 
nate; and all theories alike are liable to err in the solution 
of the problem, if they attempt it and do not prefer to let 
it alone. 3 

2. This theory further proposes to itself most legitimate 
and even praiseworthy ends. It may be said to have two 
ends in view, one religious, the other scientific — to do full 
justice to the divine Love as manifested in the Incarnation, 

1 E. g. Gess, Liebner. 2 E. g. Hofmann, Delitzsch. 

3 Schneckenburger thinks that the kenotic theory, if logically carried out to its 
ultimate consequences, involves the dissolution of the Trinity. Vom doppelten 
Stande Christi, Beilage, p. 196 ff., being a review of Thomasius' Beitrage. He 
says, p. 201: Kurz ich sehe nicht ein, wie das Trinitatsdogma bestehen kann mit 
der vorgeschlagenen Korrektur (*. e. the rectification of the old Lutheran Chris- 
tology by the Thomasian doctrine of kenosis). But the opinion is not supported 
by argument. 



1 66 The Humiliation of Christ. 

and to give such a view of the person of Christ as shall al- 
low His humanity to remain in all its historical truth. The 
former aim is very apparent in the Christological utter- 
ances of the father of modern kenosis, Zinzendorf. 1 The 
celebrated founder of the Moravian brotherhood went great 
lengths in the assertion of Christ's likeness to His brethren. 
Living in a time when men were ashamed of the humilia- 
tion of Christ, and gave prominence only to what was ra- 
tional and intelligible, and in a worldly sense respectable, 
in Christianity, he deemed it his vocation to glory in Christ's 
passion, and to assert with all possible emphasis the Incar- 
nation as a lowering of Himself in love, on the part of God 
the Son, to the level of humanity. This self-lowering he 
represented as taking place to such an extent, that Ben- 
gel, with every desire to give an impartial account of his 
doctrinal system, spoke of him as a new Unitarian, who, 
while differing widely from other Unitarians, in assigning 
to the Son not only a place in the Trinity, but a monopoly 
of divine functions, creation, redemption, and sanctifica- 
tion, came by so much the nearer to them on the other 
side, as one who journeys towards the east, going as far as 
he can, at length comes round to the west. 2 Jesus, ac- 
cording to Zinzendorf, while never ceasing to be God, was 
in all matters to be considered as a simple man; and all 
our comfort is to be derived from His humanity, viewed not 
only as like us in its weakness, but as characterized by a 
maximum of weakness, so that the most miserable creature 
can think of Christ as weaker than himself. The Son of 
God incarnate thought of Himself as a man; if the thought, 
" I am God," entered into His mind, it was only in transitu, 
as a man of thirty years may remember, in a dream, some- 
thing he had said or done when a child of two or three 
years. 3 Thus far did He carry the business of self-empty- 
ing; and in carrying it so far, He but glorified His love. 
For the greatest thing in the Saviour was not His God- 
head, or His majesty, or His miracles, but His becoming 
freely so little? Thus thought the Saviour Himself before 

1 See Appendix, Note G. 

! Abriss der so genannten Brildergemeine, pp. 28-41. 

3 Plitt, Zitizendorf s Theologie Dargestellt, Zweiter Band, p. 171. 

* Ibid. p. 161, where he quotes from Zinzendorf a passage respecting the sur 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 167 

He came in the flesh. He esteemed it a favour conferred 
on Him by His Father to be permitted to become man, that 
He might die for a sinful world. Yea, He reckoned it an 
additional favour, that, in order to become man, it was 
necessary that He should go out of the Godhead, and at 
least for an hour, for a moment, know what it is to be God- 
forsaken. 1 In more recent writers we miss both the elo- 
quence and the extravagance characteristic of Zinzendorf, 
in proclaiming the most thoroughgoing kenosis as the glori- 
fication of divine love. Modern kenosists are influenced 
much more by the scientific than by the religious interest, 
which in the case of Zinzendorf was the supreme, if not 
the exclusive, object of consideration. Nevertheless, even 
with regard to the former, there is truth in the remark of 
Dorner, that the Christology of which Zinzendorf may be 
regarded as the forerunner, represents a religious trait, viz, 
the desire to conceive the divine Love as having become 
as like to, as intimately united with, men as possible. 2 
And in this respect the Christology in question, under any 
of its forms, commends itself to our sympathy. It is im- 
possible not to have a kindly feeling towards a Christolog- 
ical theory which is earnestly bent on making the exina- 
nition of the Son of God a great sublime moral reality. An 
error is readily pardoned in a theory animated by such an 
evangelic aim. Even when the resulting view of Christ's 
person wears a suspicious resemblance to that given in the 
Socinian theory, we are conscious of a sympathy with the 
one which we cannot have for the other. We remember 
that the kenotic Christ, however like the Socinian in other 
respects, is the result of an act of free grace, on the part of 
a Divine Being emptying Himself of His divinity as far a» 
possible, in order that He might become flesh and dwell 

prise of contemporaries, at seeing a people (the brethren) to whom the greatest 
thing in Christ was, that He became so little (das ihnen das GrOsste ist, dass der 
Heiland so klein gewesen ist). 

1 Plitt, i. p. 272: Die Concession, die Willigkeit des Vaters, dass der Sohn hat 
kOnnen Mensch werden, dass er hat kOnnen sein Lcben lassen, das ist das Prasent 
das ihm der Vater gethan hat. Er sieht es als eine neue Gnade an, dass er hat 
diirfen, um Mensch zu werden, aus der Gottheit herausgehen und zum wenigsteii 
eine Stunde, einen Augenblick erfahren, was das heisset, von Gott verlassen sein. 

5 Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. iii. p. 258. 



1 68 The Humiliation of Christ. 

among men full of grace and truth. The historical phe- 
nomenon may be to a large extent the same in either sys- 
tem, but the moral and theological significance of the phe- 
nomenon is toto coelo different. The Christ of the kenosis 
is God self-humbled to man's level; the Socinian Christ is 
man exalted to the highest human level. The conceptions 
of the Deity cherished by the two systems are equally 
diverse. The God of the one system is self-sacrificing love; 
the God of the other system is a Being who cannot descend 
from the altitude of His metaphysical majesty. 1 

The scientific aim of this theory is equally entitled to 
respect, its declared purpose being to reconcile the doc- 
trine of Christ's person with the facts of the gospel history; 
or more definitely, so to conceive the Incarnation, as to 
leave room for a real progressive human development, in- 
tellectually and morally, not less than physically. This 
purpose all Christological theories profess to keep in view, 
and all have tried in one way or another to satisfy its re- 
quirements. The attempts have been varied in their nature, 
but all have involved a more or less distinct recognition of 
the need of a kenosis of some kind on the part of the Logos, 
in order that the truth of Christ's humanity may remain 
unimpaired. Irenaeus taught a rest or quiescence of the 
Logos in connection with the temptations, crucifixion, and 
death of Christ; 2 Ambrose spoke of the Logos withdraw- 
ing Himself from activity, that He might be subject to 
infirmity. 3 Hilary conceived of the Logos incarnate as 
having exchanged the form of God for the form of a servant, 
and in the assumed form tempering Himself to conformity 
•with the human habit, lest the infirmity of the assumed 
nature should be unable to bear the power and infinitude 
tof the divine nature. 4 Even Cyril, while rejecting a meta- 

1 Ritschl characterizes the kenotic theory as verseh&mter Socinianismus. 

5 H6nsp yap r/v av f ipooTtoi, 'iva 7teipa6 ( jp, outgo xai \6yoS, 'iva 
8ola.6hrjj- Tf<5vxa%ovToZ fxiv zov Xoyov tv too nsipdZs^ai . . . xai 
6ravpov6 ( jai, xai a.7to r ivr/6HEiv. Contra Haereses, lib. iii. cap. xix. 3. 

3 Exinanivit se, hoc est, potestatem suam ab opere retraxit, ut humiliatus otiosa 
virtute infirmari videretur. — Comment, in Epistolam ad Philipp. 

4 In forma Dei.manens formam servi assumpsit, nvn demutatus sed se ipsum 
exinaniens, et intra se latens, et intra suam ip-e vacuefactus potestatem; dum se 
usque ad formam temperat habitus huniam. ne potentem immensamque naturam 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 169 

morphic Incarnation, kenosis in that sense being, in his 
view, excluded by the 6ht}vqo6i% ascribed by the evangelist 
to the incarnate Logos, in the same text in which he rep- 
resents Him as becoming flesh, 1 nevertheless did homage 
to the demands of the kenosis, by admitting that the super- 
human endowments of the man Jesus must at all events be 
carefully concealed, that He might at least seem to be what 
in truth He was not, and wear to spectators the guise and 
fashion of a child, a boy, and a man, while His inward habit 
was that of a God. 2 The Lutherans yielded reluctant 
obedience to the requirements of history, by ascribing to 
the man Christ Jesus a possession without use of divine 
attributes; while the Reformed, on the other hand, made 
room for growth and experience in the life of the Saviour, 
by so conceiving of the union of natures, that the human 
nature should not be overlaid or swallowed up by the 
divine. 3 In recent times the pressure of the problem ha» 
been felt more heavily than ever; and men of all schools, 
believing in the doctrine of the Trinity, have been of one 
mind as to the necessity of such a construction of Christ's 
person as, while recognising His Godhead, shall nowise 
infringe on the integrity and full reality of His humanity. 
All, as already remarked, 4 have not followed the same 
method in the work of reconstruction. Some are content 
with the old Reformed theory carefully re-stated in the 
light of modern requirements, teaching a duality, not in 
the consciousness of the God-man, but in the life of the 
Logos; distributing the mens duplex between the Logos 
as a person in the Trinity and the concrete God-man, so 
far as that divine person exhibits and develops Himself 
in Jesus in a human manner, or as a human individual, being 
the life principle of this man, sustaining Him, conditioning 
His existence and personality, dwelling in Him by the 

assumptae humilitatis non ferret infirmitas, sed in tantum se virtue incircumscripta 
moderaretur, in quantum oporteret earn usque ad patientiam connexi sibi corporis 
obedire. De Trinitate, lib. xi. 48. The exchange of forms, though not taught 
here, is asserted in other passages; see Appendix, Note A, Lect. i.; also Thoma- 
sius, ii. p. 172 sqq. Thomasius, without good ground, claims Hilary as a sup- 
porter of kenosis in his own sense. 

1 See Appendix, Note G. 2 gee Lecture ii. 

3 See Lecture iii. < See x>. 1-56. 



170 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Holy Spirit. 1 Others teach what may be called a gradual 
Incarnation, conceiving of the union as at first compara- 
tively outward and dissoluble, gradually becoming more 
intimate as the human development of Jesus progressed, 
till at length, after the resurrection, the Logos and the 
man became absolutely one, 2 — a view in some respects 
having close affinity to the one previously described; the 

> So Schneckenburger, Vom doppelten Stande Ckrisli, p. 218: Anstatt jener 
Lutherischen Spaltung der menschlichen Natur in ihre illokale und lokale Sub- 
sistenz, vielmehr in die Lebensausserung der gottlichen eine Distinktion fallt, wo- 
nach die mens duplex sich eigentlich vertheilt an den Logos, sofern er Person der 
Trinitat ist, und den conkreten Gottmenschen, sofern sich in Jesus jene Person 
menschlich, d. h. als menschliches Individuum darstellt und entwickelt. Der Logos 
totus extra Jesum ist die secunda persona trinitatis als solche, mit der scientia 
personalis, der Logos totus in Jesu ist dieselbe alles durchdringende und bele- 
bende gottliche Hypostase, sofern sie Lebensprincip dieses Individuums ist, des 
Gottmenschen, dessen individuelles Bewusstsein nicht schlechthin Alles umfasst. 
Lebensprincip dieses Individuum ist der Logos, weil er hominem yesum sustentat. 
sein Dasein und Personsein absolut bedingt, ihm gratiose inwohnt durch den hei- 
ligen Geist. Schneckenburger speaks of the Reformed theory, so stated, as satis- 
fying pretty much the Dornerian desiderata, and says that the Reformed thean- 
thropic life-development is the normal human development of Him who, on 
account of His unique intimate relation to the Logos (who is the ground of all 
rational being), is the God-man. 

2 So Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. iii. p. 250, where 
he states his own view in opposition to the kenotic theory: "On the only other 
possible view (other than the kenotic), we can merely speak of a limitation of the 
self-communication of the Logos to humanity, not of a lessening or reduction of 
the Logos Himself. The being and actuality of the Logos remained unchanged; 
but Jesus possessed the being and actuality of the Logos in virtue of the unio, 
■nerely so far as was compatible with the truth of the human growth. For this 
.eason the eternal personality of the Logos did not immediately, and ere there 
was a human consciousness, become divine-/;«/«a«." "On this view the object 
of the volition of the Logos is, in the first instance, solely the production of a 
divine-human nature, not a divine-human person." The union is "not completely 
accomplished until the personality of the Logos also became divine-human, through 
the coming into existence of a human consciousness able to be appropriated and 
able also itself to appropriate." Further on, Dorner refers to Origen's doctrine 
of an eternal generation of the Son, as analogous to this doctrine of a gradual 
Incarnation, one "constantly growing and reproducing itself on the basis of the 
being." He then adds, by way of explaining this idea: "At the centre of His 
being, it is true, this man is from the beginning divine-human essence: but many 
things are yet lacking to this person; other things in it are still dissolubly united 
— for example, the body is still mortal; other things are still mutable, without 
detriment to its identity. The divine-human articulation, the bodily and the spir- 
itual organism of the divine-human person, needs first to be developed " (p. 258). 
The idea is, that the physical unto is a momentary act, but its effects, physical 
and moral, are only gradually worked out. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 171 

main difference being, that in the Reformed theory the 
Logos consciousness never becomes absolutely coincident 
with the human consciousness of Christ, the distinction 
between the Logos totus extra Jesum and the Logos totus 
in Jesn being eternally valid, while in the other theory 
the ultimatum or goal is an absolute identity, in the old 
Lutheran sense, between the divine and the human — the 
divine become wholly human, and the human wholly divine; 
and the Lutheran axiom, Logos non extra carnem, being 
realized in the eternal, as it could not be in the earthly 
state. The advocates of kenosis, in the sense of depoten- 
tiation, total or partial, are not satisfied with either of those 
schemes, and therefore they bring forward their own. And 
they are quite entitled to do so, and it is our duty to listen 
to them, not refusing to hear on the ground that the spec- 
ulation is idle, that there is no problem to solve, no need 
for any new attempt to answer the question, How can 
Christ be God without at the same time ceasing to be man ? 
We may indeed enter on the study of this new theory with 
a suspicion that it will turn out a failure, yea, with a rooted 
conviction that all theories whatsoever will break down; 
only believing firmly that Christ is both God and man, and 
determined that no theory, orthodox or heterodox, old or 
new, shall rob us of our faith in either of the factors which 
constitute our Lord's mysterious person, and using our 
critical faculties mainly to protect ourselves against such a 
result. In that case, we shall come to the task of examin- 
ing the latest Christological speculation in the orthodox 
interest, with very moderate expectation of new light. 
But our examination need not on this account be careless, 
prejudiced, or contemptuous, as if the interests of science, 
as distinct from those of faith, had already been fully sat- 
isfied, and all further theorizing, or theological inquiry on 
the matter, were a simple impertinence. 

3. One other general observation remains to be made 
with reference to the kenotic theory, viz., that it does not 
seem advisable to dispose of it in a summary manner, by 
a priori reasoning from the divine inchangeableness. This 
attribute, doubtless, offers a very tempting short road to 
the refutation of a theory which we have previously made 



172 The Humiliation of Christ. 

up our minds not to believe. It is very easy for one, taking 
his stand at that point, to ask imposing and formidable 
questions. Is this so-called kenosis metaphysically pos- 
sible? can the almighty God depotentiate Himself? can 
the infinite One limit Himself? can the omniscient One 
reduce Himself to the state of a mere human germ, without 
knowledge, or even so much as self-consciousness ? For 
my part, I do not care to ask such questions; I am not in- 
clined to dogmatize on what is possible or impossible for 
God: I think it best to keep the mind clear of too decided 
prepossessions on such matters. It appears to me not very 
safe to indulge in a priori reasonings from divine attributes, 
and especially from divine unchangeableness. It is wiser 
in those who believe in revelation to be ready to believe 
that God can do anything that is not incompatible with 
His moral nature, to refuse to allow metaphysical difficulties 
to stand as insuperable obstacles in the way of His gracious 
purposes, and so far to agree with the advocates of the 
kenosis as to hold that He can descend and empty Him- 
self to the extent love requires. For a priori reasoning 
from divine attributes, besides being liable to a charge of 
presumption, is apt to be dangerous. We may put weapons 
into the hands of foes to be wielded with fatal effect against 
doctrines dear to our hearts. What if the attribute of 
unchangeableness should be brought to bear against the 
Incarnation itself ! What if men should begin to ask such 
questions as these: " If God be unchangeable, how can He 
become flesh ? If God be essentially unlimited, how can 
He so subject Himself to the limitations of the humanity 
of Christ, as in Him to be really with us?" 1 How is 
Strauss to be answered when he argues: "A God who 
performs single acts is certainly a person, but not the Ab- 
solute. Turning Himself from one act to another, or now 
exercising a certain kind of activity — the extraordinary — 
anon allowing it to rest, He does and is in one moment, 
what He neither does nor is in another, and so falls alto- 
gether under the category of the changeable, the temporal, 
the finite " ? Here are creation, providence, incarnation, 

1 Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. i. p. 65, with referenca 
to the views taught by Cyril concerning the divine immutability. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 173 

miracles, demolished by a single stroke of resistless a priori 
logic, reasoning with unhesitating assurance from the at- 
tribute of immutability. They that take the sword shall 
perish with the sword; therefore let believers in these and 
kindred revealed truths put up again the two-edged sword 
of a priori reasoning into his place, and be content to try 
current theories by humbler and more patient methods, 
mindful what obstacles every Christian truth has encoun- 
tered in its way to a place in the established creed of 
the Church, arising out of speculative presuppositions and 
prepossessions. 

In this spirit, then, I proceed now to make some critical 
observations upon the theory in question, some of these 
being but repetitions or expansions of objections stated by 
German theologians, who have not seen their way to give 
the kenotic hypothesis their unqualified approval. 

1. First of all, there is a great initial difficulty to be got 
over. According to the Thomasian theory the Incarnation 
involves at once an act of assumption and an act of self- 
limitation; the two acts, distinct in thought, being coin- 
cident in time, and simply different aspects of one and the 
same act. Now the difficulty is, that these two phases 
show the same act in what seem contradictory lights, at 
once as an assertion and a deposition of divine power. The 
Incarnation, as assumption of human nature on the part of 
the Logos, is an exercise of omnipotence; as self-limitation, 
on the other hand, it is the loss of omnipotence. One act 
of will has contrary effects; one effect being the creation 
of the human nature; the other, the entire waste or dissi- 
pation of force in the act of creation. Are such contrary 
effects of one act of will compatible ? ' And why should 
this particular act of creation be followed with the extinc- 
tion or absorption of creative force, any more than that by 
which the Logos brought into being the world at large, or 
the first man ? Is the difference due to the fact that the 

1 Schneckenburger, Vom doppelten Stande Christi, p. 214: Eine und dieselbe 
Willensthat, deren Effekt eine gftttliche iibernatlirliche Machtausserung, assumptio, 
and zugleich eine iibernaturliche Machtentleerung ware, ist der vollendete Wider- 
spruch, der sich nur halten kann, wenn die Entleerung zu einer quasi- ex inanitit 
gemacht wird. 



1 74 The Humiliation of Christ. 

product in this case is personally united to the producer ? 
Then we are landed in a heathenish view of the Incarna- 
tion, according to which matter is accredited with power to 
reduce even Deity united to it to a state of impotence; 
and the kenosis ceases to be a voluntary act of self- 
depotentiation, except in the sense that the Logos freely 
resolves to bring Himself into contact with a creature 
which, He knows beforehand, will of necessity absorb all 
His divine energy. 1 It might, indeed, seem a very easy way 
out of these difficulties to make the kenosis and the assump- 
tion twe really and temporally separate acts, either of 
the same actor or of different actors. The Incarnation 
might be conceived of in one or other of two ways. Either 
thus: the Logos fully depotentiated Himself; then the Holy 
Spirit did what the depotentiated Logos was no longer 
able to do — created a human nature, consisting of a body 
and a soul, and united this creation to the depotentiated 
Logos. On this hypothesis there is no assumption, but 
only a union between the Logos become incapable of such 
an act, and a human nature, effected by the Holy Ghost; 
and the thing united to the Logos is not merely a human 
nature, but a complete human being. 2 Or thus: the Logos 
first partially depotentiated Himself, leaving Himself enough 
power to create and assume human nature, and then the 
process of depotentiation was consummated when the union 
had been effected. 3 On this hypothesis, however, there 
arises, for a moment at least, that very dualism which the 
kenotic theory is intended to get rid of — a self-conscious 

1 Schneckenburger, /. c, adduces against the ascription of the absorbtive power 
to the nature of the svcj/xevov (the human nature), the fact that, in the union 
with the assumed nature, the Logos ultimately becomes active and potent again, 
when the kenosis is at an end. He compares the depotentiation of the Logos, 
which, according to Thomasius, takes place in connection with the Incarnation, 
to the loss of consciousness sustained by God, according to Lenau's expression, 
" in the rush of creation." Etwa so wie, nach Lenau's Ausdruck, Gott im Schop- 
fungsrausch das Bewusstsein verloren haben soil, wUrde des Logos in Assumti- 
onsakt seine Gottheit bis zum Minimum, jedenfalls bis zur Bewusstlosigkeit 
jrschopft und eingebusst haben. 

2 Schneckenburger, Vom doppelten Stande, pp. 212, 213. Of this hypothesis 
Schneckenburger remarks: "und so haben wir einerseits die reformirte Lehre, 
andrerseits noch ein Ilaretisches zu der reformirten Lehre hinzu, namlich das in 
8vo q>v6£aov, die assumptio hominis, nicht naturae kumanae." 

3 Ibid. p. 212. 



Modern Ke?iotic Theories. 175 

and potent, if not omnipotent, Logos united to a human 
foetus, and freely resolving to depotentiate Himself still 
further, even completely, in order that His state may be 
perfectly congruous to that of the nature He has assumed. 
2. Assuming the initial difficulty to have been surmounted, 
other difficulties confront us in connection with the in- 
carnate state. One is, that the kenosis reduces the Logos 
to a state of helpless passivity or impotence. Thomasius, 
indeed, endeavours to meet this objection by the remark 
that " Potenz " does not signify something impotent or 
empty, but fulness concentrated in itself, withdrawn from 
the circumference of manifestation indeed, yet present in 
the centre, and having power over itself. 1 But the question 
is: has this " Potenz " power at will to radiate forth to the 
circumference of manifestation in action, or is it under a 
necessity of remaining at the centre confined to a mere 
mathematical point ? If the former alternative be adopted, 
as it is by Ebrard, 2 then there is really no depotentiation, 
as Ebrard consistently holds, but only a change in the mode 
of manifesting and exercising power. If the latter alterna- 
tive be adopted, as it is in the frankest manner by Gess, 3 then 
" Potenz," in spite of the protest of Thomasius, is practically 
equivalent to impotence. And Thomasius virtually admits 
this, by representing the development of Christ as taking 
place under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. He quotes 
with approval an observation of Kahnis, that the miracles 
of Christ proved, not His divine nature, but His divine 
mission; and while not denying them to be expressions of 
an indwelling power, yet he speaks of them as wrought at 
the bidding and with the assistance of the Father, and 
through the medium of the Holy Ghost. 4 In like manner 
does he account for Christ's knowledge of the divine. That 
knowledge, we are told, Christ got in no human school; in 
virtue of His union with the Father, He saw His eternal 
thoughts, not as one who received them by revelation, but 
through His own immediate intuition. But at the same 
time it is admitted that these divine thoughts came 
gradually to Christ's consciousness through the mediation 

1 See p. 143. 2 See p. 152. 3 See p. 146. 

4 Christi Person mid Werh, ii. p. 250. 



176 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of the Holy Spirit; though an effort is made tc lessen the 
importance of the admission by the further statement, that 
this growth in knowledge, under the education of the Spirit, 
was but the development of what lay hid in the depths of 
His own being. 1 Now what is the consequence of this 
passivity of the Logos, reluctantly admitted by Thomasius, 
more frankly conceded by Gess ? It is this, that in the 
Thomasian theory the depotentiated Logos associated with 
a human soul seems superfluous; it would make little 
difference though He were not there; 2 and that in the 
Gessian theory, the Logos, become a human soul, is 
allowed no benefit from His antecedents, the divine ele- 
ments fall into abeyance so completely, that His sinless- 
ness and His consciousness of personal identity are rendered 
all but unaccountable; insomuch that if Jesus had happened 
to be a Greek instead of a Jew, without the benefit of the 
Hebrew Scriptures, He could not have known who He was 
by the way of a truly human development — in other words, 
without a miraculous revelation. 

3. But this passivity of the depotentiated Logos involves 
another consequence, which constitutes a third difficulty in 
the way of accepting the kenotic theory, at least in its 
Thomasian and Gessian forms. By one act of self-depoten- 
tiation, the Logos is reduced to such a state of impotence, 
that His kenosis becomes a matter of physical necessity, 
not of loving free-will. The love which moved the Son of 
God to become man consumed itself at one stroke. There 
is a breach of continuity in the mind which gave rise to the 
Incarnation. A mighty impulse of free self-conscious love 
constrained the eternal Son to descend into humanity, and 
in the descent that love lost itself for years; till at length 
the man Jesus found out the secret of His birth, and the 
sublime spirit of self-sacrifice to which it owed its origin, 

1 Christi Person und IVerk, ii. p. 237. 

2 See Dorner, div. ii. vol. iii. p. 254: " Nay more, on such a supposition the 
Incarnation of the Logos is of no advantage whatever to the humanity. It does 
not allow the Logos to communicate Himself in ever-increasing measure, and so 
as to direct the development of the man assumed. . . . Consequently, the hypoth- 
esis of a self-depotentiation of the Logos . . . renders it necessary to look out for 
another principle than the Logos, to wit, the Holy Ghost, to conduct the growth 
of the God-man" (so, for example, with Thomasius and Hofmann). 



Modem Kenotic Theories. 177 

and made that spirit His own, said Amen to the mind which 
took shape in the kenosis, 1 and resolved thenceforth to act 
on it, and so reunited the broken thread of personal identity. 
On this view, the Logos had no acquaintance with some of 
the most interesting stages in the experience of Christ. He 
knew what it was to be conceived in the Virgin's womb, or 
rather to resolve that He should be; for by the time the 
fact was accomplished, He was no longer conscious; and 
He knew what it was to be tempted in the wilderness, and 
to endure the contradiction of sinners during His ministry, 
and to die; for by the time these experiences came to Jesus, 
He had ascertained who He was. But the Logos knew not 
what it was to be an infant in the cradle, or on His mother's 
breast; what it was to be a boy subject to His parents; what 
to grow in wisdom as in stature; what to be an apprentice 
carpenter: for in those years He was asleep — unconscious. 
Therefore with infants, children, and youths He has not 
learned to sympathize; only with full-grown tempted men 
has His experience fitted Him to have a fellow-feeling.* 
On this account, one desiderates a way of making the Logos 
accommodate Himself to the human development other- 
wise than by depotentiation, that His love may not appear 
exhausted by a single act, and that the initial act of sym- 
pathy may not disqualify Him for entering sympathetically 
into all the experiences of human life — those of the first 
thirty, not less than those of the last three years of Christ's 

1 Schneckenburger, Vom doppelten Stande, p. 204, represents Reinhard as 
teaching a nachtragliche Genehmigung on the part of the man Jesus, of the 
exinanitio to which, according to the old Lutheran theory, He was a party from 
the moment of conception. The humanity of Christ unconsciously divested itself 
of divine properties at the conception, and consciously consented to the act on 
reaching maturity, somewhat as a Christian homologates the vows to which he 
was unconsciously a party at his baptism. In the same way the modern kenosists 
are shut up by their theory to an ex post facto homologation by the man Jesus 
of the original act of kenosis which resulted in the Incarnation. 

2 Dorner, div. ii. vol. iii. p. 253: "The truth of the kenosis of the Logos is the 
love which stirred in Him in eternity, in virtue of which He condescends to the 
creatures who stand in need and are susceptible of Him, that He may know what 
is theirs and communicate what is His. But the kenosis of self-depotentiation fails 
to perform that at which it aims. For if the Logos has given up His eternal self- 
conscious Being, where is His love during that time ? Love without self-conscious- 
ness is an impossibility." Dorner further questions the necessity of this " unethical 
sacrifice of Himself." 



i/S The Humiliation of Christ. 

earthly history. Is this impossible ? In the words of 
Dorner, " Is it impossible for the Logos to acquire power 
over the central susceptibility of humanity which He finds 
in Jesus, and to belong to it in a unique manner, save by 
ceasing to stand in any actual relation to others ? or save 
by reducing Himself to a level of equality with this man ? " 1 
4. The Thomasian form of the kenotic theory is open to 
objection with reference to the personal unity. It teaches 
the presence in Christ of two life centres, the depotentiated 
Logos and the human soul. Now this doctrine is in 
danger of being impaled on one or other of the horns of 
the following dilemma. Either these two life centres are 
" homogeneous magnitudes" or they are not. If they are 
not, then a dualism ensues in the consciousness of the 
God-man, and the depotentiation of the Logos has taken 
place in vain; for the very object of that depotentiation 
was to exclude dualism. Such a dualism can be escaped 
only by a perfect equality of the two life centres in spirit- 
ual endowment. The two yoke-fellows must draw equally 
and keep pace, else the course of the human development 
will be other than smooth and harmonious. If, on the 
other hand, the two life centres be homogeneous, then the 
unity of self-consciousness may indeed be secured; but 
only with the effect of raising the question: To what pur- 
pose this duality in the life basis ? Why two human 
souls to do the work of one ? for, ex hypothesis the depo- 
tentiated Logos is to all intents and purposes a human 
soul. Instead of this roundabout process, according to 
which the Logos first reduces Himself to the dimensions 
of a human soul, and then associates with Himself another 
human soul, why not say at once the Logos became a 
human soul ? On the Thomasian theory, the depotentiated 
Logos, or, if you will, the human soul of Christ, is degraded 
from the position of a necessary constituent of the person- 
ality to that of a dispensable ornament. The two life 
centres, the self-reduced Logos and the human soul, are 
like the two eyes or the two ears of a man. As the 
sensations of both organs coalesce in one mental act of 
perception, the duality of the organs does not produce 

1 Dorner, div. ii. vol. iii. p. 254. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. ijg 

any duality of consciousness, while it adds to the symmetry 
and grace of the person; but on the other hand, it is not 
necessary to the act of perception, one eye or ear being 
able to do the work of the two. 1 

This being the state of the case as regards the Thoma- 
sian form of the kenotic hypothesis, it is not surprising that 
the preponderance of opinion, among theologians of the 
same Christological school, should be decidedly in favour 
of the metamorphic form of the theory, which gets rid of 
the duality of life centres by representing the Logos as 
undergoing conversion into, or as taking the place and 
performing the function of, a human soul. This form of 
the theory now invites our attention. 

5. The metamorphic theory of Christ's person, as ex- 
pounded by Gess, is liable to two grave objections. One 
of these has reference to the power which this theory gives 
to the flesh of the incarnate Logos to determine His 
condition. The text, " the Word became flesh," means, 
that the flesh and blood which he assumed became in this 
union a determining power for the Logos. The Incar- 
nation signifies the subjection of Deity to the dominion of 
matter. Contact with flesh is fatal to the free, conscious 
life of God; it is a plunge into a Lethe stream, which 
involves loss of self-consciousness, and therewith of the 
divine attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, omnipres- 
ence, and even of eternal holiness. It is true these 
attributes are in the metamorphosed Logos in a state of 
rest; but it is a rest out of which they cannot return until 
the Logos wakens up to self-consciousness, and that waken- 
ing does not take place fully till death has delivered the 
imprisoned Deity from the bondage of His mortal corrupti- 
ble body. " Not in entire forgetfulness," indeed, did the 
Son of God pass His life on earth previous to His passion. 

1 On this objection to the Thomasian theory, see Dorner, div. ii. vol. iii. pp. 
255, 256. Dorner says: " It does not even help the question of the unity of the 
divine and human, unless we should say that the depotentiation was in itself Incar- 
nation, that is, conversion into a human existence. ... If, however, no conver- 
sion be supposed to have taken place, and yet the kenosis be assumed for the pur- 
pose of the unio ... we should have nothing but two homogeneous magnitudes 
in or alongside of each other, . . . and the result arrived at resembles a duplica- 
tion of one and the same, through which the one or the c ther s rendered useless." 



i8o The Humiliation of Christ. 

By instinct, by perusal of the Scriptures, by close commun- 
ion with His Father, Jesus had found out who He was by 
the time He began His public ministry; and the conclusion 
at which He had arrived by these means was, or at least 
may possibly have been, confirmed by flashes of recollec- 
tion lighting up the darkness of the incarnate state, and 
for a moment revealing the heavens whence He had come 
But not till He tasted death did He perfectly recover pos- 
session of Himself. Then the bound powers of Godhead 
were immediately, and we may say ipso facto, released from 
the enslavement of matter. For though our author speaks 
of Jesus after His death as made alive in the spirit by the 
Father, 1 this is only a convenient use of Scripture language 
to express the idea that death itself gave Him back His 
life in all its native energy. Death, so to speak, disen- 
gaged the divine power of the Logos, which had been 
reduced to a latent state by entrance into connection with 
matter, somewhat as heat applied to water disengages the 
latent force of steam. Depotentiated at His conception in 
the Virgin's womb, the incarnate Logos became repotenti- 
ated at His death, so that He was able to raise His own 
body from the grave, and transform it into a fit organ for 
the manifestation of His recovered life in all its fulness — 
transform it at once, per sattum, not gradually; for a 
body retaining any particle of gross materiality could not 
be a fit companion for the Logos returned to Himself, but 
would only bring Him again, partially at least, into a state 
of most unseasonable bondage. 1 

The other grave difficulty besetting the Gessian theory 
is, that it ensures the reality of Christ's human experience 

• Die Lehre von der Person Christi, p. 379: Nach der Todtung am Fleisch 
ward jesus von dem Vater lebendig gemacht am Geist, und nachdem er im Geiste 
den Geistern im Gefangniss geprediget hatte, ward sein im Grabe liegender Leib 
von ihm selbst wieder aufgerichtet, sein im Tode hingegebenes Leben von ihm 
selbst wieder hingenommen. 

s Die Lehre von der Person Christi, p. 379. In the above remarks I have 
given not Gess' own words, but what I regard as the legitimate outcome of his 
theory. He teaches an immediate transformation of the risen body, and I suggest 
a reason naturally arising out of his theory for holding that doctrine. With regard 
to the Ascension, Gess remarks: Die Himmelfahrt ist fur die Leiblichkeit Jesu 
nicht der Eintritt einer neuen Epoche, sie ist nur das letzte um der Jtlnger willen 
in feierlicher Auffahrt geschehende Scheiden des Auferstandenen. P. 380. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 181 

in a way which imperils the end of the Incarnation, viz., 
the redemption of sinners, for which it is indispensable 
that the Redeemer Himself should be free from sin. This 
theory is so thoroughly in earnest with the conversion of 
the Logos into a human soul, that it quite consistently 
treats sin as a real possibility for Jesus. And while, of 
course, all who advocate this theory agree in believing that, 
as a matter of fact, the possibility did not become actual, I 
do not think they succeed in giving any good reason for 
the fact. The risk of moral evil appearing in the life of 
Jesus is not duly provided against. All that Gess has to 
say is, that God foreknew that the man Jesus would not fall 
into sin, and therefore was willing that the risk should be 
run. 1 That is, the chances might be ten, a hundred, a 
million to one, against the preservation of sinlessness, but 
God foresaw that the barely possible would happen, there- 
fore He decreed that the Incarnation should take place. 
This is simply giving up the problem as insoluble; a remark 
applicable also to the Schleiermacherian method of securing 
the sinlessness of Christ, viz., by a determinism which ex- 
cludes real moral freedom, i.e. by physical force. Other 
supporters of the kenotic theory, seeing the unsatisfactori- 
ness of leaving the vital matter of the Saviour's moral 
perfection to the chapter of accidents, or, what comes to 
the same thing, to the power of an unethical necessity, 
have sought a solution of the problem in the remanent 
divinity of the Logos incarnate. Liebner, for example, 
while apparently agreeing with Gess in making the Son 
of God, entered into " Werden," take the place of a 
human soul, insists on ascribing to the incarnate Son 
a large superhuman, superadamitic element. 2 He will 
not have Christ be regarded as a human being put, 
by His immaculate conception, in the same position 
as Adam before the fall, capable of being either good 
or evil, and having used His freedom well, exhibiting 
in His person as an individual saint the character of a 
normally developed Adam. 3 He will have us understand 

1 See p. 149. 2 See Appendix, Note B. 

3 Christologie, p. 318: Es giebt einen gewissen hoheren Ebionismus, dem ej 
aur auf einen einzelnen Heiligen ankommt, und dem daher Chnstus nur wiedei 



1 82 The Humiliation of Christ. 

that, being the Logos incarnate, Christ could not but live 
a holy life; for this among other reasons, because His exist- 
ence in this world was preceded by an ethical being in 
the eternal world, of which He had the benefit in His 
earthly career. Now this may be true as a matter of fact, 
but in proportion as it is true, is, if not the reality of 
Christ's moral experience as a man, at least its similarity 
to that of other men, compromised. And in general it may 
be remarked in reference to kenotic theories of the Gessian 
type, that they seemed doomed to oscillate between Apol- 
linarism and Ebionitism. Either they make the Logos, qua 
human soul, not human enough or too human. Either 
they retain for the Logos a little of His divinity to carry 
Him safely through His curriculum of temptation, or, com- 
pelling Him to part with all but His metaphysical essence, 
they reduce Him strictly to Adam's level, and expose Him 
to Adam's risks. 1 

6. In the form given to it by Ebrard, the kenotic theory 
certainly does not err by making Christ too much of a man. 
The Christ presented to us under this type, as has been re- 
marked by a recent German writer, wears the aspect of a 
middle Being 2 — neither God nor man, but more the former 
than the latter. He retains all His divine attributes, only 
not in the absolute form suited to the eternal mode of ex- 
istence, but in the applied form suited to existence in time; 
and, retaining these attributes in applied form, He assumes 
flesh, and is found in fashion as a man. One's first thought 
is that such a Being is a man only in appearance; but 

der normal entwickelte Adam ist. Aber Christus muss sowohl auf der person- 
lichen, als auf der Naturseile zugleich von Adam unterschieden werden. Es bedarf 
mehr als nur des normal entwickelten Adam, es bedarf eines Allbefreiers, eines 
universalen und centralen Hauptes. 

1 Hodge. Systematic Tkeohgy, vol. ii. p. 431, while disapproving of the kenotic 
theory, indicates a certain favour for Gess. Referring to Gess' claim to have ar- 
rived at his conclusion by the study of the Scriptures, he remarks: "There is 
ground for this self-congratulation of the author, for his book is far more scriptural 
in its treatment of the subject than any other book of the same class with which 
we are acquainted. It calls for a thorough review and candid criticism." Hodge's 
acquaintance with the kenotic literature seems to have been superficial and frag 
mentary. 

'-' NOsgen, Christus der Menschen- und Gottessohn, Gotha, 1869, p. 235: " fcib 
rard's Auifassung macht Christum zu einem menschlich-gOttlichen Mittelwesen." 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 183 

Ebrard stoutly denies that his theory lays him open to a 
charge of doketism. The Logos, retaining His divine 
properties in their altered form, does not exceed the di- 
mensions of humanity. His endowments, indeed, far ex- 
ceed those of man in his present degenerate state, but they 
are nothing more than the realization of the ideal of hu- 
manity. Christ is simply the sinless, pleromatic, wonder- 
working man, exercising dominion over the laws of nature 
as depraved by sin. Through the Incarnation of the Son 
of God was given a man who, as to His will, was in the 
state of integrity, like Adam before the fall; who, as to His 
natural gifts, bore within Him all the powers of humanity, 
which lay as undeveloped germs in the first federal head of 
the race, like a sun gathering these up into Himself as con- 
centrated radii of a complete all-sided development; and 
who, as to His power, stood exalted as Lord over the laws. 
of the depraved order of nature. 1 This man was neither 
more nor less than the ideal man, the head of the human race r . 
in whom the organism of humanity found its unity. If it be 
objected that, according to this doctrine, man and God 
«ire practically one, our author replies: Even so, that is the 
eternal truth of the matter. He holds that it was the 
eternal purpose of God, altogether irrespective of the en- 
trance of sin into the world, that on the one hand God 
.should enter into time by becoming man, and that on 
the other hand man should rise to the full realization of 
his ideal in becoming God, and attaining to dominion over 
the laws of nature, over the objects of knowledge, and over 
space, such as we see exemplified in the applied omnipo- 
tence, omniscience, and omnipresence of Christ. 2 There- 
fore Christ, even in His miracles, in His penetration into 
the secrets of the future, in His power to transport Himself 

' Dogmatik, ii. 32: Durch die Menschwerdung des Sohnes Gottes war also 
gegeben ein Mensch der (a) was sein Wollen betraf, im stat. integr. stand, d. 
h. sich, wie Adam vor dem Fall, frei entscheiden konnte fur gut oder bos; (b) was 
sein naturliche Begabung betraf, alle Krafte der Menschheit, die in dem ersten 
Stammvater Adam, unentwickelt, keimartig, lagen, als zusammengehende Radien 
des vollendeten, allseitigen Entwickelung sonnenhaft in sich trug; (c) was sein 
Konnen betraf, schlechthin erhaben und herrschend iiber den Gesetzen der de- 
pravirten Naturordnung stand. 
2 Vid. Appendix, Note D. 



184 The Humiliation of Christ. 

at will from one place to another, was not superhuman, 
but only ideally human. In these acts of applied omnipo- 
tence, omniscience, and omnipresence, He was at once God 
and man; combining in His person the two natures, not 
indeed as separate parts, but as two aspects of one and the 
same being — even the Son of God become man, man sin- 
less, pleromatic, wonder-working, still man — not possess- 
ing the eternal world-governing form of the metaphysical 
attributes of God, not even the eternal form of the ethical 
attributes, such being incompatible with the idea of man. 1 
On the ambitious speculations concerning an Incarna- 
tion independent of sin, as the realization of the great end 
of creation, the union of God, the Creator, with man, the 
highest of His creatures, interwoven by Ebrard into his 
Christology, I offer no remark, all the more that they con- 
duct to giddy heights, on which one accustomed to hum- 
bler levels of thought is apt to experience vertigo. I sim- 
ply observe, that the Christological theory of this author 
seems to be more in harmony with the pretentious phil- 
osophy with which it is associated, than with the facts of 
gospel history, or with the catholic faith concerning our 
Lord's person. Ebrard, indeed, is very confident that his 
theory is at once scriptural and ecclesiastically orthodox; 
but this circumstance need not influence us much, as over- 
weening confidence is one of his most marked intellectual 
characteristics. As to Scripture, it may be admitted that 
it does appear as if Christ possessed the inherent power to 
work miracles at will, His virtue in the temptation and at 
other times consisting in absolutely abstaining from making 
any use of His power for His own personal behoof. But 
how is the doctrine that Christ, as man, possessed ap- 
plied omniscience, to be reconciled with His profession of 
ignorance ? That profession Ebrard himself regards as 
.bond fide, and he looks on the ignorance sincerely acknowl- 

1 Dogmatik, ii. p. 35: Die gottliche und menschliche Natur sind nicht zwei 
'Stttcke, oder Theile, aus denen die Person Christi zusammengeleimt ist, sondern 
der Sohn Gottes ward Mensch, so dass er nun eben Mensch war, zwar, silndloser, 
pleromatischer wunderthatiger Mensch, aber eben Mensch, nicht besitzend die 
mit dem Begriff des Menschen streitende evvige weltregierende Form der meta- 
physischen Eigenschaften Gottes, selbst nicht die ewige Form der ethischen. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. iS5 

edged, as an evidence that Christ did not possess omni- 
science in the eternal form. 1 But the question is, did He 
possess applied omniscience, the power of knowing this and 
that secret at will; and if He did, how is that attribute to 
be reconciled with real ignorance? Is it not an abuse of 
words to ascribe applied omniscience to one of whom ig- 
norance can be predicated ? 2 How, again, is the doctrine 
that Christ possessed divine attributes in an applied form, 
to be reconciled with the state of childhood ? Did Christ as 
a child possess omnipotence and omniscience applicable at 
will ? Ebrard could hardly reply in the affirmative, for he 
admits that Jesus really grew in wisdom as in stature. 4 
He might indeed say that the child possessed these attri- 
butes unconsciously, as a sleeping man possesses knowl- 
edge: therefore in an inapplicable form. But this, again, is 
only playing with words. Unconscious, unavailable power 
is a euphemism for impotence; and unconscious, unavail- 
able knowledge a euphemism for ignorance. Once more, 
where in Scripture are we taught that man is destined to 
attain to such divine powers as Ebrard ascribes to Christ, 
even to unlimited dominion of the spirit over nature, to 
unlimited power to penetrate all objects of knowledge, 
and to unlimited dominion over space ? And if, indeed, 
this be man's ultimate destiny, to be attained in the state 
of glory, in what sense does Christ differ from all in whom 
this ideal of humanity is realized ? Does not this doctrine 
lead to as many Incarnations as there shall be glorified 

1 Dogmatik, ii. p. 21: Was die Allwissenheit betrifft, so weiss er nicht die Zeit 
des Weltgerichts; selbst die Art seines Leidens sieht er mit naherer Bestimmtheit 
erst gegen Ende seines Lebens voraus. 

2 Dogmatik, ii. p. 20: Von dem Augenblick an, wo er in die Existenzform des 
menschlichen Embryo eingegangen war, entwickelte er sich als achtes mensch- 
liches Individuum, ward geboren, lag als Kind in der Krippe, wuchs, und wuchs 
nicht etwa nur lieblich, so dass seine geistige Entwicklung so gleich von Anfang 
an vollendet und fertig, oder er gar etwa, wahrend er in der Wiege lag, allwissend 
gewesen ware, sondern es heisst von ihm, Luk. ii. 52, er nahm zu an Alter und 
Weisheit. 

3 See Dogmatik, ii. p. 145, where, with reference to the personal identity of the 
Incarnate with the pre-existent Logos, Ebrard emphasizes the truth that unity ot 
person is not the same thing as unity of consciousness, and remarks that as- every 
man is more than he knows, so it is conceivable that the incarnate Logos bore 
within Him the fulness of His eternal essential properties without being conscious 
of them. 



1 86 The Humiliation of Christ. 

saints ? It is no bar to this conclusion to say that Christ 
possesses absolutely, what we shall possess relatively. 1 If 
" relatively " mean imperfectly, then after all it is not 
man's destiny to possess the unlimited power promised to 
him. If, on the other hand, " relatively" does not involve 
limitation, then how does it differ from " absolutely " ? 
The question of our author's orthodoxy, in the ecclesias- 
tical sense, is one of secondary importance; but his self- 
complacency on this score provokes the remark, that his 
attempt to bring the Patristic and the Reformed Chris- 
tologies into conformity with his views can hardly appear, 
to a dispassionate reader, in any other light than as a char- 
acteristic display of perverse ingenuity. It may be the case 
that the two natures in Christ are in truth only two aspects, 
two abstract properties belonging to the Son of God entered 
into the form of humanity: the divine nature signifying the 
properties which belong to Him as the incarnate Son OF 
GOD (uncreated, eternally-begotten, etc.); the human na- 
ture signifying those which belong to Him as the Son of 
God INCARNATE (conceived, born, dead, possessing a ra- 
tional soul and a human body); but this is not the way in 
which the early fathers, or the Reformed theologians, con- 
ceived of the matter. 2 The two natures were not in their 
view two persons, but they were two subsistences, two 
things. John of Damascus may be taken as a more reliable 
expositor of the Church doctrine than the erratic modern 
divine. Having distinguished three senses in which the 
word nature may be viewed, according as it is considered 
either sola cogitatione, or in specie, or in individuo, John 
applies the distinction to the Incarnation as follows: God 
the Word, assuming flesh, neither took a nature, which is 
an object of mere mental contemplation (for this would not 
have been an Incarnation, but an imposture), nor that which 

1 Abendmahl, ii. 791: Der aber wer ohne Silnde und der Eingeborene vom 
Vater war, der besass.absolut, was wir dereinst relativ zu besitzen bestimmt sind. 

2 Ebrard, Dogmatik, ii. p. 61, gives the above as the import of the doctrine 
formulated at the Council of Chalcedon: Die beiden g>v6si? sind also nach chal- 
cedonischer Lehre weder zwei Personen (der Logos und ein Mensch) noch auch zwei 
Subsistenzen in dem Einen menschgewordenen Logos (Naturen in concretem Sinn) 
sondern zwei abstracte, nur durch Abstraction denkbare Propriet&ten, die dem in 
die Form der Menschheit eingetretenen Sohne Gottes zukommen, etc. 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 187 

is considered in specie, but that only which is in individuo; 
not, indeed, as having subsisted by itself as an independent 
individual before its assumption, but as having its subsist- 
ence in the person of the Word. 1 The Reformed theolo- 
gians concurred in this view. It is true, indeed, that In 
their controversy with the Lutherans they were accustomed 
to speak of the two natures as abstracta, with reference to 
the person, it being the habit of their opponents to over- 
look the distinction between person and nature, and ascribe 
to the human nature of Christ, per se, whatever might be 
ascribed to the man Christ. But this is a very different 
thing from regarding the human nature as simply an aspect 
of the incarnate Logos, as if, for example, the human soul 
of Christ were simply the Logos under the time-form of 
existence, subject to the law of succession in His thought, 
and applying His omnipotence not in all directions simulta- 
neously, but now in this direction, now in that. In the 
Reformed Christology, Christ's soul was a numerically dis- 
tinct entity from the Logos. Hence Ebrard finds it rather 
difficult to make citations from the Reformed writers, which 
even seem to support his views, and is under the necessity 
of correcting their inaccurate (?) expressions, in order to 
bring them up to the Ebrardian standard of orthodoxy. 
Thus, e.g., one old expounder of the Reformed Christology 
says: "The human nature of Christ is a creature, visible, 
tangible, finite in essence, duration, and power, composed 
of body and soul; His divine nature is God invisible, impal- 
pable, infinite as to essence, duration, and power, void of 
all composition, impassible, immortal." Our modern repre- 
sentative of the Reformed school of theology treats his 
predecessor as a blundering schoolboy, and after the words, 
" the human nature of Christ," writes within brackets 
("better, Christ in His human nature"). 2 

1 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. cap. xi. 

s Dogmatik, ii. p. 114, quoting Wendeline: Ita humana Christi natura est [bes- 
ser, Christus humana natura est] creatura, visibilis, palpabilis, finita[us] quoad 
essentiam, durationem, et potentiam, composita[us] ex corpore et anima; divina 
natura est Deus, invisibilis, impalpabilis, infinita[us] quoad essentiam durationem, 
potentiam, omnis compositionis expers, impatibilis, immortalis. Ebrard admits 
that in some writings of the Reformed school the two natures are spoken of as 
"two parts." On the other hand, he claims Zanchius as one who most clearly 



1 88 The Humiliation of Christ. 

7. The kenotic theory, in the form given to it by Mar- 
tensen, escapes at least some of the objections to which, 
under the forms already considered, it is liable. The initial 
difficulty pointed out in connection with the Thomasian 
scheme does not meet us here, where the kenosis while real 
is only relative; inasmuch as, on this hypothesis, the In- 
carnation does not signify the assumption of human nature 
by an already absolutely depotentiated Logos, or by an act 
of power on the part of the Logos, which is at the 
same time an act of self-depotentiation; but consists in a 
voluntary act, by which the Logos becomes a human life 
centre, without His power becoming exhausted in the act. 
The passivity of the depotentiated Logos, and helpless 
subjection to the flesh, in the incarnate state also dis- 
appear; for to whatever extent the laws of physical nature 
have power over the Logos, in that state they have it 
by His own consent. For the same reason, this new form 
of the theory is not open to the charge of making the Lo- 
gos, by one act of self-depotentiation, incapable of dis- 
playing His gracious love in connection with a. large part of 
his human experience. While the Logos as man passes 
through the unconscious life of childhood, He is conscious 
of this stage of His incarnate being, and shows His love by 

and consciously held the opposite view. The doctrine of Zanchius, however, is 
simply a repetition of that taught by Damascenus. ( Vid. Dogmatik, ii. p. 104, in 
a long and very scholastic note on the various senses of the words "subsistence " 
and " substance," and on the use of them by the Reformed in connection with the 
Incarnation). In connection with Zanchius, another instance may be mentioned 
of Ebrard's habit of perverting the meaning of citations, occurring in the same 
place. He represents Zanchius as teaching that, in the Incarnation, the Logos 
became a limited Being. The ground of this representation is the following cita- 
tion: "Christus in ea assumpta forma servi sese evacuavit omni sua divina gloria, 
omnipotentia, omnipresentia, omniscientia. Factus est ex ditissimo pauperimus, 
ex omnipotente infirmus, ex omnisciente ignarus, ex immenso finitus." These 
words, taken by themselves, might naturally suggest an absolute surrender of the 
divine attributes named, at least in the eternal form. But the following words of 
Zanchius, not quoted by Ebrard, show that the former author had no intention of 
teaching any such doctrine: " non quod," Zanchius continues, "reipsa desient 
esse, quod erat iv /xofxptj Geov, sed quod in hac forma servi sicut factus est ex 
Deo homo, sic ex Domino servus, ex ditissimo pauperimus, ex omnipotente infirmus, 
ex omnisciente ignarus, ex immortali mortalis, ex immenso finitus, ex ubique prae- 
senti, certis locis circumscriptus, denique ex aequali cum Patre, valde minor Patre; 
a^. proinde quod secundum hanc naturam et formam servi, non potuit dici omni- 
potens, omniscius, ubique praesens." Zanchius, De Filii Dei Incarnatione, c. ii 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 18c 

consenting to pass through it. While escaping these diffi- 
culties besetting the theory of an absolute metaphysical 
kenosis, Martensen's doctrine seems to satisfy the demands 
of the ethical kenosis taught in Scripture. The self-empty- 
ing ascribed to the Logos by the apostle does not neces- 
sarily require absolute physical depotentiation, but only 
that the Logos shall limit Himself so far as the incarnate 
state is concerned, and shall be able to predicate of Him- 
self subjection to the limits of that state. Nor does it 
appear very difficult to reconcile this view with the ex- 
change of form which, according to the most correct 
exegesis, seems to be taught in the passage in the Epistle 
to the Philippians. Granting that the kenosis involved a 
giving up of divine form, and a taking upon Him on the 
part of the Logos, in its stead, of the form of a servant in 
the likeness of man, it does not follow that the Logos 
ceased absolutely to be what He was; all that necessarily 
follows is, that the two forms were not combined in the in- 
carnate life of the Logos. Notwithstanding what is said 
there, it may be that the Logos has a double life — one in 
the man Christ Jesus; one as the world-governing, world- 
illuminating Logos. Such a double life is certainly not 
taught in the passage, but neither is it formally excluded; 
nor can it be held to be excluded by implication, unless it 
can be shown that the doctrine of a double life is incom- 
patible with the condescension of the Son of God implied 
in the Incarnation, and evacuates His self-humiliation of all 
real ethical significance. If the contrary of this be true, 
then the apostle had simply no occasion to pronounce on 
the question whether the kenosis was absolute or relative 
only; it was enough for his purpose to emphasize its reality 
with reference to the incarnate state; so that, for example, 
Jesus should not be a child merely in outward seeming, 
but in very truth, speaking as a child, thinking as a child, 
understanding as a child. Whatever the form of God may 
mean, three positions may be taken up as to what the apos- 
tle meant to teach concerning it in connection with the 
Incarnation. It may be held that he meant to teach, either 
that the Logos retained the form of God in becoming man, 
or that He absolutely renounced the divine form in becom- 



190 The Humiliation of Christ. 

ing man, or that in becoming man the Logos entered intc 
a form of existence which involved a real renunciation of 
the divine form, whether absolute or otherwise not being 
said, or possibly not even thought of. The first position is 
that taken up by the Fathers: the second is the view which 
naturally commends itself to advocates of a metamorphic 
or semi-metamorphic kenosis, like Gess and Ebrard; the 
third is the position which best fits in to the hypothesis 
of a double life taught by Martensen. It is a perfectly 
feasible position. Of course, even if allowed, this view of 
the apostle's meaning does not prove the hypothesis in 
question; it simply leaves room for it. But that is all 
that is wanted to legitimate it as a hypothesis intended tc 
cover and account for all the facts of our Lord's history, 
without creating more or greater difficulties than it solves. 
That this hypothesis has no difficulties of its own to meet, 
cannot indeed be pretended. The idea of a " double life ' 
of the Logos raises speculative questions which Martensen 
has not attempted to answer, and which have not been 
satisfactorily cleared up by those who have made the at- 
tempt. It is frankly admitted by some that the double life 
has the appearance of positing a double personality, a double 
ego; but it is explained that this appearance vanishes as 
soon as we more closely consider the relation of time and 
eternity as not temporal but causal. That being duly 
weighed, we shall see our way to holding at once a real 
kenosis, and the possession, yea, the use, without conceal- 
ment, of the divine glory (S6ia) on the part of the incarnate 
Son of God. 1 But even after we have thought sufficiently 
long and intensely on the relation referred to, trying to 
conceive it as directed till the brain grows weary, we may 
still find such a combination hard to conceive, and ask our- 
selves, how can the same mind be conscious and unconscious, 
finite and infinite, ignorant and omniscient, at the same 
moment? 2 It is indeed a hard problem, but in justice it 

1 So SchOberlein ; see Appendix, Note E. 

5 Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. ii. p. 435, states, as a conclusive objectioc 
to Ebrard's theory, which he understands as teaching a double life of the Logos, 
that " it assumes that the same individual mind can be conscious and unconscious 
finite and infinite, ignorant and omniscient, at the same time." 



Modern Kenotic Theories. 191 

must be borne in mind that it is, in one form or another, a 
problem which presents itself to all who believe in the real 
Incarnation of an undepotentiated Logos. For Martensen 
and those who think with him, the problem is, how can 
one and the same mind (that of the Logos) be at once con- 
scious and unconscious, omniscient and ignorant ? foi 
Schneckenburger and Dorner, and such as agree with them, 
the problem is, how can one and the same person be at 
once conscious and unconscious, omniscient and ignorant 
- the former in the Logos per se, the latter in the human 
soul of the child or the man Jesus ? 

On the whole, with every desire to give the kenotic theory 
a fair and candid hearing, one cannot but feel that there are 
difficulties connected with it which " puzzle " the mind and 
give the judgment " pause," and dispose to acquiescence in the 
cautious opinion of a German theologian, more than half 
Inclined to support a hypothesis in favour with many of his 
countrymen: "The relations of eternity and time, of the 
ethical and physical, of the Incarnation to the primitive 
man, ofthe historical God-man to the previous activity of the 
Logos; the true and the untrue in Apollinarism, and the 
bearing of this hypothesis on the d6vyxwov, must be made 
clearer and more comprehensible than heretofore, before the 
full scientific and practical fruit of recent Christological 
speculation can be reaped," 1 or even, it may be added, rightly 
judged of as to its quality. One may well be excused, in- 
deed, for assuming this attitude of suspended judgment, 
not merely in reference to the kenotic theories, but towards 
all the speculative schemes we have had occasion to notice 
in this lecture. The hypothesis of a double life, of a gradual 
Incarnation, and of a depotentiated Logos, are all legitimate 
enough as tentative solutions of a hard problem; and those 
who require their aid may use any one of them as a prop 
around which faith may twine. But it is not necessary to 
adopt any one of them; we are not obliged to choose be- 
tween them; we may stand aloof from them all; and it may 

1 Nitzsch, System der Christlichen Lehre, sechste Auflage, p. 262, in a note en 
Liebner's Christologie, which he characterizes as "der bedeutendste Fortschrid 
der speculativen Lehre vom gottmenschlichen Leben und Bewusstsein zur Bench- 
tigung der kirchlichen und der beiden confessioneller Lehrarten und Formeln." 



192 The Humiliation of Christ. 

be best when faith can afford to dispense with their services. 
For it is not good that the certainties of faith should lean 
too heavily upon uncertain and questionable theories. Wis- 
dom dictates that we should clearly and broadly distinguish 
between the great truths revealed to us in Scripture, and 
the hypotheses which deep thinkers have invented, for the 
purpose of bringing these truths more fully within the grasp 
of their understandings. My esteemed predecessor in this 
lectureship, Principal Rainy, has said : " If there are sifting 
times before us, the effect will probably be to compel us with 
more stringency, with more discriminating regard to all 
considerations bearing on each point, to determine how 
much we can really say we know, how far we can say Scrip- 
ture designed to guide our thought to this result, to this 
alternative, to this resting-place." Applying this most 
needful discipline to the great subject of our present studies, 
we shall probably find, after the most painstaking inquiry, 
that what we know reduces itself as nearly as possible to the 
axioms enumerated in our first lecture, and that the effect, 
though not the design, of theories of Christ's person, has 
been to a large extent to obscure some of these elementary 
truths, — the unity of the person, or the reality of the humanity, 
or the divinity dwelling within the man, or the voluntariness 
and ethical value of the state of humiliation. That is, cer- 
tainties have been sacrificed for uncertainties, facts for hy- 
potheses, faith for speculation. If this be the testimony of 
history, then the lesson is plain : Be content to walk by 
faith, and take care that no ambitious attempt to walk by 
sight rob you of any cardinal truth relating to Him in whom 
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodilv. 



LECTURE V. 

MODERN HUMANISTIC THEORIES OF CHRIST'S PERSON. 

THE discussions contained in the three preceding lectures 
leave on the mind the impression that the person of Christ 
is a great mystery. The catholic believer, who sees in 
Christ God manifest in the flesh, frankly confesses the mys- 
tery. For, while he accepts with unfeigned truth the doc- 
trine of the Incarnation, and finds in that truth, on its ethical 
side, rest to his spirit, he feels and owns the speculative or 
scientific construction of Christ's person, as God incarnate, 
to be a hard if not an insoluble problem. The more he 
studies the history of past attempts at its solution, and 
observes how opinion has oscillated between Nestorian 
duality and Monophysite unity, and how open to criticism 
are the recent essays of the Kenotic school to construct a 
Christology not liable to these objections, the less he will 
be inclined for himself to undertake the task; while still 
clinging with unabated earnestness to a dogma which gives 
him a God who can condescend and perform morally heroic 
acts, and earn for Himself men's devoted love by a sublime 
career of self-humiliation and self-sacrifice. 

It cannot be doubted that the mystery which envelops 
the doctrine of Christ's person, as set forth in the creed, 
presents a strong temptation to desert the catholic foun- 
dation, and to refuse to see in the Incarnation " the pillar 
and ground of the truth." Many in recent years have yielded 
to the temptation, and have adopted purely humanistic 
views of the subject. At the root of this departure from the 
catholic faith, in the case of many, is a naturalistic philos- 
ophy, which refuses to recognise the miraculous in the con- 



194 The Humiliation of Christ. 

stitution of Christ's person as in every other sphere. In the 
case of some, however, dissent is professedly based not on 
philosophy, but on exegesis. Even in the case of those 
whose belief is determined by philosophic bias, the attitude 
assumed is not always precisely the same. There are shades 
and degrees of naturalism, and in giving an account of the 
naturalistic views of Christ's person it will conduce to ac- 
curacy to attend to these distinctions. 

Those who advocate a purely humanistic view of our 
Lord's person, on whatever ground, may be divided into 
five classes. First, there are those who take their stand 
on absolute, thoroughgoing naturalism, refusing to recog- 
nise miracle in any sphere, physical or moral, and there- 
fore declining to accept even the old Unitarian view of 
Christ, according to which, while only a man, He was yet 
a perfect man. Next, there are others who, while natural- 
istic in their philosophic proclivities, shrink from the 
thoroughgoing application of the principles with which 
they secretly sympathize, and though readily consenting 
to banish the supernatural from the physical sphere, at the 
expense of philosophic consistency retain it in the ethical, 
and with the Catholic Church confess the sinlessness of 
Jesus. A third party, though really at one with the former 
of these two schools in opinion, side with the latter in feel- 
ing, and, while in no instance and in no sphere recognising 
the veritably miraculous, nevertheless endeavour in their 
whole delineation of Christ's life and character to embrace 
in the picture as much as possible of the extraordinary and 
wonderful. To these three phases of modern naturalistic 
opinion concerning the Founder of our faith may be added 
a fourth, that, viz., characteristic of those who, while im- 
bued with the scientific spirit of our time, and paying great 
deference to the incredulous attitude of science towards the 
miraculous, can scarcely be regarded as occupying any 
definite philosophic position. Men belonging to this school 
are quite willing to accept the account Jesus gave of Him- 
self, as far as they can gather it from the evangelic records. 
Turning away from the multifarious theological controver- 
sies concerning the person of Christ, as matters which they 
cannot understand, and with which they have no sympathy, 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 195 

they go back to the fountainhead, and try to put them- 
selves in the position of those who were eye and ear wit- 
nesses of the Word, and to form for themselves an impres- 
sion of ITim at first hand. And the impression they do form 
is very much the same as that expressed by Peter at Caesa- 
rea-Philippi when he said, " Thou art the Christ, the Son of 
the living God." When asked what they mean by such 
words, they reply in effect, We cannot tell. " The power 
of Christ is to be felt, not explained." You may, if you like, 
manufacture theological dogmas out of them; it is quite 
possible that they can "by the kind of ingenuity common 
among professional theologians be brought within the proper 
lines of accepted opinion." But it is not worth while to do 
so; it is "a pitiful waste of time." 1 Finally, the fifth class 
embraces all those who, while agreeing with naturalistic 
theologians in rejecting the catholic doctrine, do so not on 
speculative grounds, but on the ground of positive exegesis. 
To all these schools of opinion the person of Christ is a 
mystery not less than to those who cordially accept as 
their own belief the creeds of the Church Catholic. To 
whom shall we go to escape mystery ? The personality 
of his beloved Master was a great mystery to the disciple 
Peter. But was it less of a mystery to the multitude which 
was broken up into parties in reference to the question, 
Who is this Son of Man ? — some saying He is John the 
Baptist, others He is Elias, and others He is Jeremias, or 
one of the prophets ? In like manner, it is vain for one who 
is perplexed by the mystery of the Catholic doctrine con- 
cerning Christ to go in hope of relief to any one of the 
parties we have discriminated as existing in our day. One 
and all of them, whether confessedly or not, believe in a 
Christ who is a mystery; insomuch that the element of 
mysteriousness must be set aside altogether as a test of 
truth or falsehood, and our faith be made to rest on entirely 
different grounds. It may be worth while to enter into 
some detail in proof of this assertion; for it is a great help 
to faith to realize distinctly and clearly the alternatives. 
Simon Peter having asked himself the question, To whom 
shall we go if we leave Jesus ? and having clearly per- 

1 Vid. Haweis, Current Coin, pp. 312, 313. 



196 The Humiliation of Christ. 

ceived that he could not better his position, remained 
where he was, contenting himself with the Master he had 
hitherto followed in spite of all drawbacks. So we, when 
tempted to abandon the conception of Christ which the 
Church has taught us, because of its acknowledged diffi- 
culties, do well to ask ourselves, Shall we escape difficulty 
by exchanging that conception for any other offered us by 
current opinions ? and to take pains to arrive at a well- 
considered answer. 

1. The first of the five above specified forms of current 
opinion concerning Christ, that of thoroughgoing natural- 
ism, does not homologate the sentiment of the apostle, 
" confessedly great is the mystery of godliness," as pre- 
sented in the history and character of Jesus of Nazareth. 
It flatters itself that by the consistent unflinching appli- 
cation of its fundamental principle, the miraculous impos- 
sible, to the evangelic biography, it gets rid of all mystery. 
It finds there, indeed, a marvel of piety, but no miracle; a 
singularly good and wise man worthy of all love and ad- 
miration, but no sinless perfect being; a perfect man being 
a breach in the continuity of human history, a contradiction 
of the law that all which is real is relative, amoral miracle, 
and therefore an impossibility not less than the raising of 
a dead man to life would be. But do the advocates of this 
view really get rid of all mysterious elements in the life of 
Jesus, or do they accomplish more than to satisfy them- 
selves that on their principles there ought to be none ? 
Let us see. In the first place, if Jesus be a man chargeable 
with sin, as He is bound to be on their principles, how 
comes it to pass that it is so hard, even for those who applj? 
themselves to the task with every good-will, to accuse 
Him of sin on the basis of the Gospel record ? We know 
that many attempts have been made by men of this school 
to establish a charge of moral culpability against Jesus, 
and we also know how very much the reverse of signal 
successes these have been. In absence of more important 
material for such an accusation, the blasphemers of the 
Son of Man have been obliged to content themselves with 
such paltry things as these: that harsh word to His mother 
at Cana; the perversely mystic style of the sermon on the 



Modem Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 1 97 

bread of life in the synagogue of Capernaum, "bristling 
with statements fitted to irritate and disgust hearers," 
the sentence in the intercessory prayer, " I pray not for 
the world, but for them whom Thou hast given me;" the 
direction given to the disciples to let an offender who re- 
fuses to confess his fault be unto them as an heathen man 
and a publican; the harsh treatment of the Syro-Phcenician 
woman; the heartless reply to the disciple who would bury 
his father, " Let the dead bury their dead." ' Contemptible 
arguments surely to bring against the doctrine of Christ's 
sinlessness, which it were a mistake in an apologist to 
honour with a serious reply, but which well deserve the in- 
dignant rebuke of a distinguished American divine: "These 
and such like specks of fault are discovered, as they think, 
in the life of Jesus. So graceless in our conceit have we 
of this age grown, that we can think it a point of scholarly 
dignity and reason to spot the only perfect beauty that has 
ever graced our world with such discovered blemishes as 
these ! As if sin could ever need to be made out against 
a real sinner in this small way of special pleading; or as if 
it were ever the way of sin to err in single particles or 
homoeopathic quantities of wrong. A more just sensibility 
would denounce this malignant style of criticism as a heart- 
less and really low-minded pleasure in letting down the 
honours of goodness." 2 I sympathize with Bushnell's scorn 
and indignation, but at the same time I feel that the small 
captious critics of Jesus are to be pitied as well as de- 
nounced. Their philosophy requires them to speak evil 
words against the Son of Man; and if the materials for 
cursing are very scanty, what course is left for the Balaams 
of modern unbelief than to make the most of such as are 
available ? In no other way can we account for the fact 
of such a grave and serious writer as Keim condescending 
to notice the incidents already referred to, and others of 
similar nature, as blemishes in the character of Jesus ' 

Some writers of this school are fair enough to admit that 
the faults chargeable on our Lord are few and small, and 

1 See Pecaut, Le Christ et la Conscience, p. 250. 
1 Bushnell, A r ature and the Supernatural, chap. x. 
8 Vid. Geschichte Jesu von Nazara, vol. iii. p. 641. 



1 98 The Humiliation of Christ. 

find themselves under the necessity of accounting for the 
fact, in harmony with the assumption of naturalistic phil- 
osophy, that He musj: have been, like all other men, in seri- 
ous respects morally defective. One thing very specially 
insisted on in this connection is the fragmentary nature of 
our sources of information. " Suppose," says Pecaut, " no 
reliable indication of imperfection should be found in the 
history of Jesus, what inference could be drawn therefrom ? 
We possess only fragments of His biography, and fragments 
relative to His public life; that is, to that which is best in 
the history of a man devoted to the good of others. Do 
you not know that the discourses and the public acts of 
every one of us are better than our internal state ? Is that 
hypocrisy? God forbid: only the best of men speak and 
act as they wish to be in the bottom of their hearts. But 
what information have we as to the infancy of Jesus, His 
private and family history, and finally, as to His inner life ? " ' 
We might reply, We have the testimony of those who knew 
Him intimately during the period of His public ministry, 
and had access to information concerning the antecedent 
period, who even in His lifetime spoke of Jesus as the Holy 
One, and after His death spoke of Him as such absolutely 
and without qualification. But we are told that the testi- 
mony of the disciples and apostles, while justly making a 
favourable impression on the whole, does not go beyond 
the similar testimony borne by Xenophon to Socrates, who 
nevertheless, by his own confession, was not a sinless man. 1 
We are thus thrown back on what is, after all, the most 
convincing evidence of the sinlessness of Jesus, viz., the 
utter absence of all trace of any consciousness of sin on 
His part. It is surely a very striking thing to find one 
whose moral perceptions were so delicate; who knew so 
well what was in man; who could see beneath a fair ex- 
terior rottenness and dead men's bones; who discerned 
fleshly sin even in licentious thoughts and looks; who had 
such abhorrence of vanity, pride, ostentation, and other 
sins of the spirit universally committed in the world, and 
commonly treated as no sins at all, bearing Himself 

1 Le Christ et la Conscience, p. 240. 

• Keim, Jesu von Nazara, vol. iii. p. 641. 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 199 

throughout as one who had no part in these sins of the flesh 
and spirit, though not exempted from experience of temp- 
tation. It is doubtless a ready suggestion that admiring 
attached disciples were not likely to record words or facts 
indicative of a sense of moral shortcoming. But it deserves 
to be noticed that the evangelists have not been afraid to 
record facts which might easily be mistaken for, and have 
in fact been mistaken for, proofs of moral infirmity, as, e.g., 
the clearing of the temple, and very specially the great 
philippic against the religious heads of the people, which 
Renan and others have regarded as an evidence that Jesus 
had lost His self-possession, and grown intemperate and fan- 
atical in feeling; a fact, if it were a fact, certainly revealing 
great moral weakness. Then it is further to be observed,, 
that the question is not one of mere suppression of incon- 
venient facts which might reflect on the character of one's 
hero. The real state of the case is, that Jesus throughout 
bears Himself as no one could who had the consciousness 
of moral shortcoming. By artless narration, as opposed to 
artistic invention, the evangelists have set before us a man 
who seems constantly surrounded by the sunlight of a good 
conscience, void of offence towards God and towards men, 
entirely exempt from the dark moods of men who have 
passed through moral tragedies, having no occasion to ex- 
claim with a Paul, " Oh, wretched man that I am ! " or to 
confess that the good He would, that He did not; and the evil 
He would not, that He did. Utterly remote from Pelagian 
views of human character and conduct, He walks about on 
this earth as one who enjoys perfect unbroken fellowship 
with His Father in heaven, and whose relations to men are 
regulated wholly by the love of righteousness and the spirit 
of mercy. He is the one man in human history who 
seems to have no consciousness of sin, His only relation to 
the sin of the world, to all appearance, being that of one 
who bears it in His heart as a burden by sympathy, and 
who, in some mysterious way, hopes to bear it away and 
destroy it; not a sinner, but a saviour from sin, come to 
save the morally lost by His love in life and in death. 

This absence of all consciousness of moral shortcoming in 
one characterized by such exceptional depth and strength 



200 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of moral conviction, is a second element of mystery in the 
person of Christ, which must greatly puzzle those who re- 
fuse to see in Him one " who knew no sin." Granting that 
the paucity of censurable materials in His recorded public 
life may be plausibly explained, this phenomenon cannot 
easily be accounted for. Had Jesus been a Greek, it might 
have been less unintelligible; for the spirit of the Greeks 
was much more sensitive to beauty than to sin, and it was 
possible for one belonging to the Hellenic race to walk 
about with serene, s'miling countenance and light heart, 
though he had committed moral offences, his past misdeeds 
possibly present to his consciousness as occurrences, but no 
burden to his conscience as transgressions. But Jesus be- 
longed to a race which had been trained by a stern legal 
discipline to regard sin as a terrible reality. By the law 
had come to Him, as to other Jews, if not the knowledge 
of sin, at least a highly educated conscience, a trained fac- 
ulty of discernment between right and wrong, and an acute 
sense of the importance of moral distinctions. And the 
wonder and the mystery is, that with the Jewish conscience 
did not come to this man, as to others, the ordinary con- 
sciousness of sin. In saying this, I do not forget that there 
were other Jews in whom something superficially resem- 
bling this strange combination presented itself, self-satis- 
faction associated with the habit of moral discernment. 
There were men who could see and severely condemn sin 
in others, and yet see little or no sin in themselves: who 
beheld the mote that was in their brother's eye, and con- 
sidered not the beam that was in their own; who could 
stand in the temple and thank God that they were not as 
other men, and with much unction recite their own virtues, 
while drawing out a catalogue of other men's vices. There 
were Pharisees, with consciences like a policeman's lantern, 
with its light side turned outward towards the breaker of 
the laws, and its dark side towards their guardian. But we 
•cannot account for the mystery connected with the moral 
consciousness of Jesus by likening Him to this class of 
men; and so far as we are aware, it has not occurred to any 
one to suggest such a solution. Jesus was no Pharisee; He 
was the scourge of Pharisees, the unsparing exposer and 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 201 

denouncer of their moral obliquity, hypocrisy, and pride; 
the moral antipodes of the class in spirit and in judgment, 
loving those whom they despised, exalting to the place of 
supreme importance duties and virtues which they neg- 
lected, and regarding as trivialities practices which seemed 
to them of vital moment. And yet He agreed with the 
Pharisees in this, that He had not the consciousness of sin; 
He did not, He could not say, " God be merciful to me the 
sinner; " He felt not the need of repentance. Would not 
the Son of Man be almost tempted to regard this resem- 
blance as a misfortune ? He who so intensely loved the 
publicans and sinners, and whose spirit shrank back with 
such revulsion and loathing from Pharisaic self-righteous- 
ness, would rather have taken His place with the poor 
publican who stood afar off with downcast eyes, and smit- 
ing on his breast exclaimed, " God be merciful to me the 
sinner," than with the self-satisfied Pharisee who said, 
" God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are." He 
certainly would have done it if He could, and He did that 
which came as near to it as possible. Since He could not 
repent, He felt for those who needed repentance; since He 
could not bear the burden of personal demerit, by an un- 
speakably deep and tender sympathy He took on His spirit 
the burden of those who were heavy laden with guilt; since 
He could not know sin, He made Himself a sinner by iden- 
tifying Himself so closely with the sinful as to earn the 
honourable nickname of the Sinner's Friend. 

But this beautiful unearthly compassion for the sinful which 
has earned for Jesus the blessings of so many that were 
ready to perish, reminds us of yet another direction in which 
an explanation maybe sought for the mystery of His moral 
self-consciousness. It may be supposed that His serenity 
arose out of His own faith in the gospel which He preached 
to the sinful, the gospel of God's infinite pardoning mercy. 
He was happy in spite of shortcomings, just as any of us 
may be, just as every healthy-minded Christian is who 
believes that God has forgiven his sin, and stands in the 
same relation to him as if sin had never existed. His sky 
was cloudless, and His soul full of sunlight, because the 
mists engendered by an evil conscience had disappeared 



202 The Humiliation of Christ. 

before the warm beams of a heavenly Father's boundless 
charity. If a Paul or a David could attain to a joy unmarred 
by the memory of past transgression, through faith in the 
loving-kindness and multitudinous tender mercies of God, 
why not a Jesus ? If it was possible for a weeping penitent 
to go into peace on hearing the soothing words: "Thy 
faith hath saved thee," why may not the speaker Himself 
have entered into peace by the same door ? May not His 
confidence in the power of faith to conduct to peace have 
been based on His own experience ? It is painful to one 
who believes in the Sinless One to ask such questions, but 
we cannot deny that from the point of view of those who 
do not share our belief they are not irrelevant. What, then, 
shall we say in reply ? We must remind unbelievers of 
another well-ascertained fact in the history of Jesus, viz., 
that He claimed to be the Judge of men, a claim which 
could not reasonably be made except by one who stood on 
a different moral level from other men. The fact of the 
claim and its moral significance are admitted by theologians 
of eminence belonging to the naturalistic school, as, e.g., 
by Dr. Baur of Tubingen. This able writer, it need hardly 
be said, has no faith in a future judgment of the world, as 
popularly conceived. In his hands the judicial function of 
Christ resolves itself into the critical power of the truth. 
" If," he says, " we regard the doctrine and activity of Jesus 
from the ethical point of view, under which it is to be placed 
•iccording to the Sermon on the Mount and the parables, it 
Delongs thereto essentially that that doctrine and activity 
must be the absolute standard for the judgment of the 
moral worth and the actions and conduct of men. Accord- 
ing to the diverse attitude of men towards the doctrine of 
Jesus, as the ground law of the kingdom of heaven, they are 
divided into two essentially different classes, whose moral 
worth, brought to its absolute expression, is expressed by 
the contrast of everlasting blessedness and everlasting 
damnation. But what holds in the first place of the 
doctrine of Jesus, holds also in the next place of His person, 
so far as He is the originator and promulgator of the same. 
With His doctrine His person is inseparably connected. 
He is the concrete embodiment of the eternal significance 



Modern Humanistic TheoiHes of Christ f s Person. 203 

of the absolute truth of His doctrine. Is it His doctrine 
according to which the moral worth of men is to be judged 
for all eternity ? then He it is who speaks the sentence as 
the future judge of men." ' Now, even taking Baur's account- 
of Christ's judicial function, what a high claim it involves ! 
It implies that Jesus regarded Himself as the moral idea 
realized. For His claim is absolute, not relative. His 
doctrine concerning the judgment is not, I am the Judge 
in so far as I am in my own person a realization of the 
ethical ideal, so that the attitude men assume towards me 
(knowing what they "do) determines their attitude towards 
that ideal, and the same may be said of every good man in 
proportion as he realizes in his character the ideal — not 
that, but, " I am the Judge," without any qualifying " in so 
far." It is true that the disciples are promised seats beside 
the King, as co-judges with Him of the tribes of Israel, 
even as it is said by Paul that the saints shall judge the 
world. But there is a wide interval between the judicial 
power of the saint or apostle and that of the Lord Jesus. 
Jesus is the Judge Absolute, all others — saints, apostles 
— are judges longo intervallo, and only in so far as they ap- 
proximate the ideal which He alone realizes. That He 
claimed to be the Judge absolutely appears from the simple 
fact of His representing Himself ordinarily as the Judge 
exclusively, without any mention of assessors, or with such 
reference to other beings of high rank as puts them in the 
position of mere attendants; as in the account of the judg- 
ment in Matt, xxv., which opens with the words, " When 
the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy 
angels with Him, then shall He sit on the throne of His 
glory." 

In view of the claim to be the Judge, it is impossible to 
regard the unburdened condition of Christ's conscience as 
the simple result of strong faith in divine forgiveness. 
That claim is rather a proof that He who advances it does 
not feel the need of forgiveness; and if the state of mind in- 
dicated by the claim be regarded as a hallucination, then 
the claim itself must be reckoned as a third element of 
mystery in the moral aspect of Christ's person, which can- 

1 Neue Testamentliche Tkeologie, p. no. 



204 The Humiliation of Christ. 

not but perplex those who refuse to see in Him anything 
out of the common course. Here is one who is ex hypotlicsi 
a sinner, and, judging from the analogy of other men of 
outstanding force and magnitude of character, probably a 
great sinner, arrogating to Himself the position of Judge 
of the sinful, entitled, in discharge of His official functions, 
to say to the impenitent, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into 
the eternal fire." Is this a part we should expect such an 
one to aspire to ? Is the claim to exercise such tremen- 
dous functions a psychologically probable one in the mouth 
of one who is himself a transgressor ? We could imagine 
one who had sinned even grievously, and repented of his 
sin, preaching the doctrine of a judgment to come with 
great emphasis, seeking to persuade men as one who him- 
self knew the terror of the Lord. So preached judgment 
Paul, the penitent and pardoned persecutor. But to preach 
judgment is a different thing from proclaiming oneself the 
Judge. Or we could imagine one who had been character- 
ized by great moral frailty, and who was in the habit of 
looking on his own shortcomings and those of other men 
in a genial, indulgent way, as the effect of temperament, 
circumstances, and so forth, after the fashion of a Rousseau 
or a Burns, denying a judgment to come; representing 
Death as the great redeemer, setting the soul free from its 
base corporeal companion to rise to its native element of 
goodness, and to the society of blessed spirits who delight 
in virtue. But not only to be a preacher of judgment, but 
to proclaim oneself the Judge, becomes none save one who 
is at once holy, harmless, undefiled, and in character 
separate from sinners, and yet able, through His power of 
sympathy and His experience of temptation, to give due 
weight to all extenuating considerations. Such an one the 
Scriptures represent Jesus to have been — sinless, therefore 
ntitled to be the Judge; tempted in all points as we are, 
therefore able to temper judgment with mercy. 

In the foregoing observations I have confined myself to 

personal character, as distinct from the public career, 

esus, and have simply sought to emphasize these three 

questions: If Jesus was the sinful erring man naturalism 

requires Him to be, whence comes it that it is so difficult, 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 2o5 

from the record of His life, to convince Him of sin; that in 
His whole demeanour no trace of a consciousness of moral 
shortcoming can be discerned; that He claims to Himself 
the right to be the Judge of all men ? When we pass from 
this restricted region of inquiry to the wider sphere of the 
public ministry, materials for a proof that to naturalism the 
character of Jesus must be a hopeless puzzle greatly multi- 
ply on our hands. Here, indeed, the naturalistic critic 
would find no difficulty in convicting the subject of his 
criticism of sin and folly. The difficulty rather is that sin 
and folly are so apparent and glaring on naturalistic princi- 
ples, that it becomes hard to understand how they could 
be united with so much wisdom and goodness, as all must 
confess to have been manifested in the career of the Prophet 
of Nazareth. The central points of interest in this depart- 
ment are the claims of Jesus to be the Messiah, and the 
necessity laid upon Him by that claim of playing the part 
of a thaumaturge. That Jesus did make such a claim, and 
that the claim carried along with it an obligation to be, or 
at least to seem, a miracle-worker, are positions generally 
admitted. But from the naturalistic point of view, the 
Messiah idea was a hallucination, and miracles are impos- 
sible. Consequently Jesus, in giving Himself out for the Mes- 
siah, if not a deliberate deceiver, must have been Himself 
the victim of a national delusion, and in undertaking to work 
miracles must have degraded Himself to the level of a con- 
jurer. But how to reconcile such imposture, self-delusion, 
and quackery with the wisdom and the moral simplicity so 
conspicuous in Jesus ? Naturalism is here obliged to make 
patronizing apologies for its hero, in order, if possible, to 
mitigate the moral contradictions in His character. Baur 
tells us that Jesus could not do otherwise than claim to be 
the Messiah, if He wished to gain for His religion a starting- 
point from which it could go forth to conquer the world. 
Christianity, as Jesus conceived it, had indeed nothing 
narrow or Judaistic about it: its essential characteristics 
were spirituality and universality; it was a purely moral 
religion, and therefore a religion for all mankind. But then 
Jesus Himself was a Jew, and therefore the universal re- 
ligion must find its cradle among the Jewish people. But 



206 The Humiliation of CJirist. 

no religious movement had any chance of taking a hold on 
the Jewish mind unless it consented to take its form from 
the Messianic idea. In other words, Jesus, in order to gain 
influence in His own country, and so to make a beginning 
in the conquest of the world, must call Himself the Christ, 
and offer Himself to His fellow-countrymen as the fulfil- 
ment of the Messianic hope, knowing full well that the 
hope, as cherished by them, and as expressed in Old Testa- 
ment prophecy, was a dream that could never be realized; 
accommodating Himself to a delusion for their good, and 
for the ultimate good of the world. Similar apologies are 
made by Renan for the thaumaturgic element in Christ's 
career. He cannot deny that actions which would now be 
considered signs of folly held a prominent place in the life 
of Jesus. His historic conscience will not allow him to 
listen too much to nineteenth century repugnances, and to 
attempt to rescue the character of Jesus by suppressing 
facts which in the judgment of contemporaries were of the 
first importance. But he does not feel that these facts 
give any occasion for concern about the character of Jesus. 
The thaumaturgic aspect of His public career is after all 
but a spot on the sun. Who would think of sacrificing to 
that unwelcome side the sublime side of such a life ? It is 
enough to say that the miracles of Jesus were a violence 
done to Him by His age, a concession extorted from Him 
by a temporary necessity. The exorcist and the thauma- 
turge have passed away, but the religious reformer will live 
for ever. 1 Plausible apologies both, but how inconsistent 
with the well-ascertained spirit of Him who said, " My 
kingdom is not of this world " ! The Jesus of Baur and 
Renan says in effect: I must mix a certain amount of the 
alloy of falsehood with the pure gold of truth in order that 
it may gain currency in the world. The Jesus of the 
Gospels says: I decline to act on the principle of worldly 
prudence, and am content with what success is compatible 
with perfect truthfulness; and because He resolutely adhered 
to this programme the world found Him an intolerable 
nuisance, and nailed Him to a cross. 

2. But I must leave this topic, and go on to notice very 

1 Vie de Jesus, p. 26S. 



Modern Humanistic TJieories of Christ's Person. 207 

briefly the second of the five forms of current opinion con- 
cerning the Author of our faith above enumerated, that, viz., 
which sees in Him no sin, and devoutly reveres Him as the 
Ideal Perfect Man. This view is familiar to all as that held 
by Unitarians such as Martineau and Channing, but we 
may connect it here with the name of Schleiermacher, as 
having in his system a peculiar philosophic significance. 
Schleiermacher's doctrine concerning Christ is this: As the 
original source of Christian life, He must, while a historical 
individual, at the same time be an Ideal Person, in whom 
the ideal of humanity is fully realized. As the Ideal Man, 
while like all men, in virtue of the identity of His human 
nature, He differs from all through the constant vigour of 
His God-consciousness, which was a proper being of God 
in Him, implying absolute freedom from moral taint, and 
from intellectual error in all things pertaining to His mis- 
sion as a religious teacher. In Christ the ideal of humanity 
was for the first time realized; man as at first created fell 
short of the ideal, so that Christ is the completion and 
crown of the creation. It will be seen at a glance that this 
Christology, though coming short of orthodoxy, rises above 
the plane of naturalism into the region of the miraculous. 
Christ is, if not physically, at least ethically, a miracle; 
He alone of all men exhibiting in perfect and unvarying 
strength the God-consciousness, and maintaining with God 
a fellowship undisturbed by sin. Now, the philosophic sig- 
nificance of this Christology as taught by Schleiermacher 
is, that in his theology it is a departure from the general 
tendency of his system. It is a supernatural element in a 
creed which is predominantly influenced by a naturalistic, 
Pantheistic spirit. This inconsistency is characteristic of 
Schleiermacher. He is neither a Pantheist nor a Theist in 
his philosophy and theology, but a mixture of both. This 
fact explains the difficulty which every reader of the Christ- 
licJie Glatibe feels in clearly apprehending the author's 
meaning. Schleiermacher, unlike most Germans, writes a 
good pure style, and yet somehow you feel that there is a 
haze upon the page which prevents you from seeing dis- 
tinctly the thoughts presented. You read the passage 
again with increased attention, like one straining his eyes 



2oS The Humiliation of Christ. 

to see some object in moonlight, and still you fail to see 
the idea clearly. The reason is that it is moonlight through 
which you are looking — the moonlight of Christian faith 
reflected from the Christian consciousness of the writer upon 
the dark planet of a Pantheistic philosophy. Strauss, with 
his usual sagacity, hit the truth about Schleiermacher when 
he said, that he had pounded Christianity and Pantheism to 
powder, and had so mixed them that no man could tell where 
Pantheism ended and where Christianity began. We can- 
not go wrong, however, in assuming that it was Christianity 
and not Pantheism that led Schleiermacher to acknowledge 
in clear unambiguous terms the sinlessness of Jesus. His 
Pantheism prevented him from recognising in Christ an 
incarnation of God in the sense of the creeds, and made 
him willing to abandon much of the miraculous in Christ's 
history, to treat as doubtful the miraculous conception, and 
to resolve the resurrection into a revival to consciousness 
from a state of suspended animation. But he was too much 
a Christian to be capable of following Pantheism as his 
leader in the ethical region. Pantheistic philosophy teaches 
that it is not the way of the ideal to realize itself in an in- 
dividual, but only in the species; therefore Jesus as an 
individual historical person must have been more or less 
morally defective like all other men. To this doctrine 
Schleiermacher, with Moravian blood in his veins, and full 
of reverence and love towards the Redeemer, at whatever 
cost of inconsistency, could only give one answer: " Get 
thee behind me, Satan." Let us honour him for his incon- 
sistency, and see in it an involuntary testimony to the 
force of truth, a witness to the impression of an unearthly 
purity which the image of Jesus makes on every ingenuous 
mind. 

It is evident that the doctrine taught in the Glaubenslehre 
of Schleiermacher concerning the person of Christ cannot 
pretend to be clear of all mystery. That gifted author did 
his best to reduce the mystery and the miracle to a min- 
imum, that he might commend his Christology to scientific 
and philosophic tastes. He taught that Christ, though the 
ideal man, and therefore a product of the creative energy 
of God out of the common course, was nevertheless but 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 209 

the completion of the creation, that to which the rudimen- 
tary man of the first creation was destined to reach, and 
towards which the human race in its onward course had 
been steadily approximating. While therefore there was 
certainly manifested in Christ a divine initiative, it was an 
initiative which did no violence to the law of evolution; 
though there was a miracle, it was a small one. But it is 
vain to attempt by such representations to conciliate un- 
belief. A little miracle is as objectionable to Pantheistic 
naturalism as a great one; the creation of a moneron, the 
rudest embodiment of the principle of life, as much an 
offence as the creation of a perfect man. If, therefore, the 
Christology of Schleiermacher has nothing more to say for 
itself than that it is an endeavour to present the faith of 
the church concerning its Founder in a form which, while 
retaining something distinctively Christian, shall be as in- 
offensive as possible on the score of mysteriousness, it must 
be pronounced an utter failure. It is useless for apologetic 
purposes, and must rest its claims to acceptance on other 
grounds. 1 

3. We come now to the views of the third party referred 
to at the commencement of this lecture, whom I described 
as with the naturalistic school in philosophy, but with the 
supernaturalists in feeling, and as endeavouring in their 
whole delineation of Christ's life and character to embrace 
in the picture as much as possible of the extraordinary, 
while recognising in no sphere the strictly miraculous. This 
party may be designated the mediation school, or perhaps 
better still, the school of Sentimental Naturalism; and it 
commands our respect by its sober, reverent manner of 
handling the Gospel history, and by the array of distin- 
guished writers of which it can boast, including Ewald, 
Keim, and Weizsacker. In perusing the works on the life 

1 Views similar to those of Schleiermacher have been propounded recently by 
Dr. Abbott, author of Through Nature up to Christ, and other works. Dr. 
Abbott is an eclectic in philosophy, naturalistic on the physical side, supernatur- 
alistic on the ethical. He represents Christ as perhaps as incapable of working 
miracles such as those recorded in the Gospels as of sinning. The naivete of this 
is charming. Dr. Abbott does not seem to be aware that a sinless Christ is as 
great a miracle as a Christ who can walk on the water. Vid. Preface to Oxfora 
Sert, torn 



210 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of our Lord emanating from this school, one is struck with 
the extent to which they recognise the historical character 
of the Gospel, in comparison with the two lives of Jesus 
by Strauss, as also with the marked contrast in the whole 
tone and spirit of the performances. They recognise so 
much as historically true, that you feel they would recog- 
nise all, if only their philosophy would allow them. The 
person of Christ, if not essentially divine and absolutely 
sinless, is yet in all respects unique, a veritable wander; 
if some of the miracles be impossible, and therefore the 
narratives which record them mythical, others were actual 
occurrences, especially the healing miracles, which, though 
very extraordinary, were yet not contrary to or outside 
the course of nature, being explicable on the principles of 
" Moral Therapeutics." Even the resurrection of Jesus 
was, in some respects, a reality. The appearances of the 
" risen " one were not merely subjective visions, the hallu- 
cinations of a heated brain; there was an objective basis 
for the faith of the disciples. Not that the dead body of 
Jesus came to life again, that of course was impossible; but 
the spirit of Jesus, which survived His death, caused the 
disciples to see these visions, sent these manifestations 
from heaven as telegrams, so to speak, to assure them that 
all was well, and so revive their hopes. All this is, doubt- 
less, very gratifying and very reassuring to the believing 
student of the evangelic narrative, tending to confirm him 
in faith, and to make him confident that he is not following 
cunningly-devised fables when he accepts the whole as 
simple truth, without even such abatements as an Ewald 
or a Keim would make. But while accepting thankfully 
the concessions of this school, we must bear in mind that 
these are apt to lead us to form a more favourable judg- 
ment concerning the position it occupies in contrast to 
that of Strauss and other extremely negative critics than 
it deserves. It may be that writers of this school go farther 
than on their principles they are entitled to go, and that 
Strauss, with all his brutal irreverent plainness of speech, 
is the most reliable and consistent exponent of the natur- 
alistic philosophy in its bearing on religious problems 
Strauss himself has no doubt on the point. In reviewing, 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 2 1 1 

in the introduction to his New Life of Jesus, the works on 
the same theme which had appeared after the publication 
of his earlier Life, Strauss notices the views of Keim as ex- 
pressed in an academical address on the human develop- 
ment of Jesus Christ, comparing them with those of Renan. 
While admitting Keim's superiority to Renan in some 
respects, e. g. in his appreciation of the respective merits 
of the Synoptics and of John, he thinks him inferior to the 
Frenchman in this, that, while holding Jesus to be a purely 
human person, he is nevertheless not willing that He should 
be one of many, but insists on His being a unique individ- 
ual on whose mediation all humanity depends. This idea 
of Christ he characterizes as sentimental, and he expresses 
the conviction that the error of supposing it possible to 
reconcile the claim of a full and complete humanity in 
Jesus with that of a unique being elevated above humanity 
would much more clearly appear if Keim would undertake 
to write a detailed life of Jesus. 1 What Strauss desired, 
Keim has done, and in the Geschichte Jesu von Nazara we 
have the means of judging how far naturalism can go in 
recognising the exceptional in the person and history of 
the Saviour. Now my verdict is that Strauss was right 
when he affirmed, that on the principles of naturalism you 
cannot make Christ an exceptional unique person, but must 
be content to regard Him, as Renan has done, as a very 
remarkable man, and to recognise Him as the originator of 
spiritual religion, just as you recognise Socrates as the origi- 
nator of philosophy, and Aristotle of science, that is, on the 
understanding that many attempts preceded these masters, 
and that since their time important improvements have been 
made, and may yet be made, but still without impeaching 
the eminent position generally conceded to these great 
original founders. While highly appreciating much that is 
excellent in the work, and greatly valuing its positive and 
reverent spirit, I must nevertheless say that what I find in 
Keim's History of Jesus of Nazareth is this: Naturalism by 
inflated exaggerated language striving hard to do justice to 
the extraordinary in its subject without recognising anything 
supernatural. It is a case of the frog trying to blow itself 

1 New Life of Jesus, i. 45. 



212 The Humiliation of Christ. 

out into the dimensions of the ox. The very style of the 
work reveals the impossibility of the attempted task; a 
remark applicable to Ewald also, who belongs to the same 
school of sentimental naturalism. Always, when writers 
of this school come to deal with a hard problem, such as 
the miracles of Jesus, or His assertion of a peculiar relation 
to God, or His resurrection, they lose themselves in long 
involved sentences charged with mystic poetic phraseology, 
from which it is impossible to extract any distinct idea. 
Strauss remarks, in reference to Ewald's treatment of the 
resurrection of Jesus, that his long, inflated rhetoric con- 
tains literally no fragment of an idea beyond what had been 
said by himself in his first Leben much more clearly, " though 
assuredly with far less unction." This remark is perfectly 
just. I remember the feeling of perplexity created in my 
mind on reading Ewald's remarks on the resurrection in 
his work on the history of Christ. 1 I supposed at the time 
that the obscurity was simply an idiosyncrasy of the writer, 
or, it might be, the effect of ignorance in the reader; till 
by and by it dawned upon me that Ewald's obscurity, like 
Schleiermacher's, was the result of his attempting to serve 
two masters. The drift of the whole discussion is: the 
resurrection did not, could not, take place, but the beauti- 
ful dream must be dealt with tenderly, and its reality denied 
with as much sentiment as if you meant to affirm it. The 
same observation applies to Keim's manner of dealing with 
similar topics. He is a sentimental anti-supernaturalist, 
who tries hard to affirm, while denying the supernatural 
element. The charge of sentimentalism he would not in- 
deed resent, for he not only admits, but claims as a merit, 
a " pectoral " colouring in his delineation of the great 
biography. 

As it is very important to be convinced of the illegitimacy 
of this attempt to reconcile faith and scepticism, and to un- 
derstand that we must either go further than Keim or 
Ewald in belief, or not so far, I may briefly explain Keim's 
mode of dealing with the miraculous in Christ's history be- 
fore considering the view held by him and others of the 
same school concerning the person of Christ and His po- 

1 The fifth volume of his History of Israel. 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ 's Person. 2 r 3 

sition in the universe. As already remarked, Keim, in 
common with all writers of the same school, recognises to 
a far greater extent than Strauss the historical character 
of even the more remarkable passages in Christ's life as re- 
lated in the Gospels. After all necessary deductions, he 
admits that the Gospels make on every sound mind the im- 
pression that in their narratives they do not rest simply on 
late legends and recent inventions, and that beyond doubt 
they contain many genuine historical facts, and possibly 
still more most genuine words of Jesus, and that it is not 
credible that the great deeds interwoven with the story are 
fictions. At the same time, being naturalistic in his phil- 
osophic view-point, he cannot afford to accept all the Gos- 
pel " miracles" as historical; he can admit only those which, 
however wonderful, can be conceived to have had a natu- 
ral cause. To this class belong the miracles of healing, 
Our author thinks that though Jesus came not to do mighty 
works, but to preach, yet He could not avoid becoming a 
healer of disease. Events carried him on into this new 
path, not to be called " a false path," seeing that through 
it Jesus entered on a truly divine career. The trust of men 
and their misery pressed around the new teacher and de- 
sired His help, though in Galilee and Capernaum there 
might be no want of physicians, male and female. The 
synoptic Gospels indicate by their manner of narration that 
this was the way the healing miracles began; they ascribe 
not at the beginning, or even at all, the initiative to Jesus, 
but to those who came seeking help. The sick came to 
Him, He intensely sympathized with them; the question 
arose: Do this need of the people, and their appeal for help 
on the one hand, and my sympathy on the other, not in- 
dicate a new department of labour, and constitute a call to 
add to my work as a spiritual physician that of one who 
heals the diseases of the body ? The heart of Jesus an- 
swered Yes to this question; and so He set Himself to heal 
the sick, which He did simply by a word, a word of faith 
acting on faith in the recipient of benefit. And, strange 
to say, by the two combined, the faith of Jesus revealing 
itself in confident words, and the faith of the sick exhibited 
in no less confident expectations, remarkable cures were 



214 The Humiliation of Christ. 

wrought: diseases of body and mind yielded to the united 
faith-storm (Glaubensturm) of healer and healed ! How 
were these cures brought about ? Keim discusses all the 
various hypotheses that have been suggested, such as that 
the cures were strictly medical, effected by the professional 
knowledge of Jesus, or that they were produced by magic 
arts or by magnetism, or that they were answers to prayer. 
Rejecting all these hypotheses, he maintains that the cures 
must be held to spring in the first place from the spiritual 
life of Jesus, associated with His human will-force, and 
with His religious confidence, and also with that trait of 
deep sympathy, of inwardness, of devotion, which He 
brought to the victims of the world's woe; and in the second 
place, from the receptivity of the healed, for as spirit works 
primarily on spirit, the co-operation of the patient is indis- 
pensable, and, as a matter of fact, we see that stress was 
laid on it by Jesus. He did mighty works only where there 
was faith. Regarded by the simple folks of Galilee as 
the great man, as the prophet, as the deliverer, He by His 
love awakened love, by His faith called forth faith sufficient 
to alter the physical life course. 

Marvellous results of the Glaubensturm and the moral 
therapeutics so eloquently described. Pity only that the 
Glaubensturm could not be more frequently raised, and 
that moral therapeutics, which Matthew Arnold assures us 
have not been sufficiently studied, 1 were not more generally 
understood ! Speaking seriously, what are we to think of 
this new theory of moral therapeutics, by which men like 
Keim seek to reconcile their acceptance of the healing 
" miracles " with their philosophic naturalism ? It looks 
very like a device to hide from themselves their true po- 
sition, which is that of men drawn in two different direc- 
tions, towards faith by the general impression of historical 
truth made on their minds by the Gospel narratives, 
towards unbelief by their philosophy. Moral therapeutics 
is a convenient phrase for a dark mysterious region into 
which those can take refuge who halt between two opin- 
ions. If it be true, as Matthew Arnold says, that moral 
therapeutics have not been sufficiently studied, it is per- 

1 In Literature and Dogma. 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 2 1 5 

haps well for him and the like of him; for it is the darkness 
of the subject that makes it serve their turn. If ever moral 
therapeutics should be thoroughly studied, and the con- 
clusion come to that there is not much in them, then men 
like Keim and Arnold will be forced to do violence to their 
historical sense, and to treat all the miraculous narratives 
together as alike legendary. Meantime they can talk in 
high-flown sentimental style about the Glaiibensturm and 
the marvels it can work, without risk of immediate scien- 
tific contradiction not to be gainsaid. 

It is easy to show that Keim's manner of dealing with 
the resurrection of Jesus is equally unsatisfactory. His view 
amounts to this: The resurrection did not happen, yet 
something happened, something corresponding to the phe- 
nomena of modern spiritualism, that something was not 3l 
miracle in the strict sense, but it was a " wunder;" " a wun- 
der," says Weizsacker, whose opinion on this topic is sub- 
stantially the same as Keim's, " as truly as was the whole- 
history or the person of Jesus." 1 It is not surprising that 
Strauss in his new Leben Jesu expressed himself as curious 
to see what Keim would make of the resurrection. " Having 
renounced," he remarks, "the visions spoken of by Renan, 
and generally excluded the supernatural from his treat- 
ment of the subject, there seems no other hypothesis open 
to him but that of suspended animation. If so, he comes 
at last to the signal fiasco of falling into the wake of Schlei- 
ermacher, whose views it was his ambition to surpass in 
point of historical accuracy." Keim has not fallen into 
that fiasco certainly, but he has come to a conclusion which 
is neither one thing nor another, and which Strauss ap- 
parently, with all his mental resources, was unable even to 
imagine. The old theft hypothesis adopted by Reimarus 
and kindred spirits he knew; the swoon hypothesis, ac- 
cording to which Jesus did not die on the cross, held by 
Schleiermacher and others, he was also acquainted with; 
the hypothesis of subjective visions, creatures of a heated 
brain, he himself strenuously advocated; 2 but as for this 

1 Untersuckungen iiber die Evangelische Geschichte, p. 573. 
8 Dr. Abbott in Philochristus seems to adopt this hypothesis. He speaks of the 
visions as continuing for little less than a year, "insomuch that if any one should 



216 The Humiliation of Christ. 

new spiritualistic hypothesis of Keim's, which resolves the 
appearances of the risen Christ into objective though im- 
material manifestations, telegraphic messages from the de- 
parted Master to His disciples, he neither had seen it in 
books, nor had it entered into his mind to conceive it. 

Let me now illustrate the peculiar characteristics of this 
school of theologians by the manner in which they con- 
ceive and represent the person of Christ. As I remarked 
on a former page, Keim does not recognise the sinlessness 
of Jesus; and a similar remark applies to Weizsacker, who 
speaks of Christ's "sinlessness" as consisting in single- 
hearted devotion, and of His perfection as similar to that 
of Paul or any other devoted man. Nevertheless, while re- 
fusing to acknowlege the doctrine of the Churck on this 
point, theologians of this school assign to Christ a unique 
place in His relation to God and the world. The views of 
Keim on this topic are specially emphatic. Nowhere are 
they expressed in a more characteristic manner than in the 
author's discussion of the remarkable text in Matt. xi. 27; 
which he calls Christ's great confession of sonship. After 
discussing the various readings of the text, and expressing 
his preference for the ancient 1 as against the canonical 
reading, he goes on to say: — 

" Whichever form of the text we adopt we find therein the glory of Christ, and 
a great testimony and personal testimony in reference to His whole position. All 
is given to Him by His Father, that is, the God whom He here for the first time 
distinctly calls His Father, in contrast to all other men. The all things given aie 
primarily those babes, the kernel of the people, to whom the Father has shown the 

adventure to set forth all the manifestations of Jesus, and the time and place and 
manner of each, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that 
should be written," pp. 413, 414. Such long continuance Keim holds to be neces- 
sary to the vision hypothesis, and the fact that there is no evidence of anything of 
the kind, he holds to be conclusive against it. Having referred to Pkilochristus , 
I may remark that it may fairly be classed with the literature of sentimental Natur- 
.alism. In this interesting book the story of Christ is told in the name of one of 
His disciples, and a strange and incongruous combination of first century faith 
•.and reverence with nineteenth century scepticism is the result. 

1 "No man knew the Father save the Son, nor the Son save the Father," the 
•clauses in our canonical Gospel being inverted and the tense changed. The Gnos- 
tics preferred this form because it supported their doctrine that the God of the Old 
Testament was not the God of the New, as it made Christ claim to be the first 
teacher of the Fatherhood of God. 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 2 1 7 

Son; but likewise all Messianic rights among men, which the faith of the people 
legitimizes, and the unbelief of the wise avails not to frustrate. But what pre- 
cisely are those mysterious intangible Messianic rights ? He tells us plainly in the 
sequel. No one knew the Father except the Son, and the Son except the Father, 
and he to whom He reveals. His rights, His privilege, His singularity lies, above 
all, in the through Him for the first time completed knowledge of the Father, and 
in His becoming known to the humanity whom the Father gives Him, whilst He 
gives it the knowledge of the Son. It is, in short, the representation of the highest 
spiritual truths, as the exclusive mediator of which He, at once revealer and re- 
vealed, is appointed for a believing obedient world of men. In this great thesis 
lie three mighty utterances. He is the first and only one who through Him and 
through God has reached the knowledge of God the Father. In the second place, 
as He knows God, so God has known Him. He has known God as Father, as 
Father of men, and yet more as His own Father. God has known Him as Son, 
as Son among many, and yet more as the One among many, and exclusively re- 
lated to each other. Each to the other a holy, worthy to be known, searched, 
discovered secret, they (Father and Son) incline towards each other with love, to 
discover each other, to enjoy each other, with self-satisfying delight, resting on 
equality of spiritual activity, of being, of nature. It the third place, this self- 
contained world of Father and Son opens itself to the lower world, to men, only 
by a free act, because they are pleased to open themselves up and to admit whom 
they choose to fellowship, and because the Father is still greater than the Son, 
even when the Son upon earth speaks to the ears of men ; so it is finally not the 
Son but the Father who is the decisive revealer, interpreting to the spirits and 
hearts of men the Son, and in the Son Himself admitting the babes, excluding the 
wise and understanding." 

More briefly he says again: — 

" This place is, as no other, the interpreter of the Messiah-thought of Jesus. It 
we desire to reduce it to its simplest expression, it may be said that Jesus sought 
His Messiahship in His world historical spiritual achievement, that He mediated 
for humanity the highest knowledge of God, and the most complete blessed life 
in God." 1 

The bare reading of this passage suffices to convince one 
that the writer is wading beyond his depth. How per- 
plexing the second of the three thoughts he finds in the 
text, on the assumption that the speaker is no more than 
man, and is distinguished from other men only by His more 
intimate knowledge of and fellowship with God, a knowledge 
and fellowship even in His case not absolutely perfect ! 
The fellowship of Father and Son rests, we are told, on 
equality of spiritual activity, of being, of nature, and yet all 
that Christ here claims has for its fact-basis, according to 
our author, only this, that He was the Inbringer of a higher, 

1 Geschichte Jesu von Nazara, ii. 384. 



218 The Humiliation of Christ. 

more satisfying religion, the religion of Christians, the 
worship of the Father in spirit and in truth. If this were 
true, it would be better, with Strauss, to deny the gen- 
uineness of the saying reported by the evangelist in the 
text cited, on the ground of its mystic, pretentious, 
superhuman character, than, with Keim, to retain it as the 
unnatural extravagant utterance of one who was neither 
more nor less than the first teacher of a new and compar- 
atively excellent religion. The words are natural and 
sober only in the mouth of one who is something more and 
higher than this; even one who occupies the position to- 
wards God, and performs the functions towards the world 
of the Johannine Logos, who was with God before He be- 
came man, and who is the light of every man that Com- 
eth into the world. The saying takes us out of the histor- 
ical incarnate life of the speaker into the sphere of the 
eternal and divine. The claim to be the exclusive revealer 
of God the Father of itself justifies this assertion. For it 
does not mean that men who through want of opportunity 
know not Him, the historical Christ, must on that account 
be without such knowledge of God as is necessary unto 
salvation. It means that He is the light of every man 
in any land or in any age who has light, and that 
through Him every one is saved that is saved in any place 
or time; and that is a claim which could rationally be ad- 
vanced only by one concerning whom the affirmations con- 
tained in the opening sentence of John's Gospel could be 
made: " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
with God, and the Word was God." 

4. I might here conclude this survey of the literature of 
naturalistic Christology, but as I have undertaken to give 
some account of current opinions respecting the Author of 
our holy faith, I could not well avoid saying something on a 
phase of thought which can scarcely be said to have any 
philosophic basis, and of which the chief interest is its 
crudity, which is neither orthodox nor heterodox, simply 
because it stops short of the point at which orthodoxy and 
heterodoxy diverge. Probably the best representative of 
this nondescript school in England is the Rev. H. R. Haweis, 
one of the pulpit celebrities of London in connection with 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 2 1 9 

the Established Church, and author of several well-known 
books in which opinions on all manner of present-day topics 
are very freely expressed ; whose popularity as a preacher and 
as a writer may be accepted as an indication that his way 
of thinking hits the taste of many. Mr. Haweis is emphat- 
ically a child of the Zeitgeist, and yields himself with un- 
hesitating submission to the inspiration of the spirit of the 
age. He does not believe in miracles in the sense of events 
which have no natural causes. " As far as I can see," he 
says, "there are no divine fiats in the sense of things hap- 
pening without adequate causes. From a close observation 
of the world about us, one and another event supposed to 
be by divine fiat is now seen to be due to natural causes." 1 
This, however, does not prevent him from accepting most 
of the miracles recorded in the Bible — miracles of all sorts, 
miracles of healing, miracles of prophetic foresight, miracu- 
lous answers to prayer; because he thinks that for all such 
miracles a natural cause can be assigned. He finds the key 
that unlocks all mysteries in animal magnetism. Priests 
and prophets were men endowed with magnetic and spirit- 
ual gifts; hence their power to do things which seem miracu- 
lous, to see the future, to pass through fire unharmed, like 
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; to tame wild beasts, 
like Daniel in the lions' den. In Christ and His apostles 
the magnetic and spiritual forces culminated. " God, who 
chose to speak to man through the man Christ Jesus, who 
thus revealed the divine nature under the limitation of 
humanity, also chose that Jesus Christ should take in the 
highest degree all the natural powers which were bestowed 
on humanity, both as regards magnetic force and spiritual 
receptiveness." 2 Hence the healing miracles; hence also 
the frequent modus operandi by the use of magnetised sub- 
stances, "as when he made clay and anointed the blind man's 
eyes, and sighed or breathed hard upon him, another prac- 
tice well known to magnetic doctors now." Magnetism also 
explains answers to prayer, whether recorded in the Bible or 
occurring in Christian experience now; for the magnetic ele- 
ment is the one thing common to those in the flesh and out 
of the flesh. And by prayer we put ourselves en rapport with 
1 Speech in Season, p. 243. 2 Ibid. p. 49. 



220 The Humiliation of Christ. 

disembodied magnetisers, and receive through their mag- 
netic influence the desired blessing, e.g., restored health. 
No one will be surprised to find one who propounds so gro- 
tesque a theory of the miraculous giving utterance to some- 
what eccentric ideas on such subjects as the Trinity and 
the divinity of Christ. Mr. Haweis' opinions on these topics 
are certainly eccentric enough. In his way he is a believei 
in a trinity, nay, he holds that every man who thinks per- 
sistently about God must think of Him as trinity in unity. Foi 
what, he asks, is our first idea of God ? It is that of a vast, 
co-ordinating, perhaps impersonal force, which brought into 
form what we call the universe. This is our first rough no- 
tion of God — God in the widest sense, the Father. But 
this notion does not suffice; it leaves God too far off, and 
we need a God that is nigh. And so we next think of God 
as like ourselves, a magnified man. To us intellectually, 
sympathetically, God is perfect man. This second hu- 
man aspect of God is so necessary to us, that even if we 
had no historical Christ at all, " we should be obliged to 
make a Christ, because our mind incarnates God in the 
form of Christ irresistibly and inevitably whenever we bring 
definite thought to bear upon the question of a divine being 
in relation to man. And such a Christ, whether ideal or 
historical, will be God the Son." But my Christ, where is 
He ? Is He only an idea or a past historical character ? 
That will not suffice. I must have a present God with 
whom I can commune, by whose influence I can be refreshed, 
a God who touches me and dwells within me. God so 
conceived is the Holy Ghost. And thus we have our trinity 
complete, the first of the three modes of Deity being God 
conceived of as creative force; the second, God conceived 
of as a man; the third, God conceived of as immanent — " God 
tangential." It is only a Sabellian trinity of course, as Mr 
Haweis himself acknowledges, and he has no objection to 
avoid the charge by identifying Manifestation with Persona- 
lity, only he thinks the Church of the future is not likely to 
quibble over phrases with a view of evading the heresy of 
Sabellianism. From the foregoing doctrine of the Trinity we 
can ourselves determine what must be our author's doctrine 
concerning Christ. Christ is the second conception of God 



Modem Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 221 

realized as a historical fact, an expression of God under 
the limitations of humanity. But it will be best to give 
his view in his own words: "When I am asked to define 
what I mean by Christ, I use such expressions as these. 
There was something in the nature of the great boundless 
source of being called God which was capable of sympathy 
with man. That something found outward expression, and 
became God expressed under the essential limitations of 
humanity, in Jesus. That such a revelation was specially 
necessary to the moral and spiritual development of the 
human race I believe; that such revelation of God was act- 
ually made to the world I believe. More than this I cannot 
pledge myself to." 1 

According to this view, Christ is the incarnation not of 
God, but of something in the nature of God which has 
affinity to man. God Himself, in the totality of His being, 
according to our author, cannot be incarnated. " There 
must," he says, " be infinite ranges in the Divine Being's rela- 
tions to our world, aspects, and energies of Him that can 
never be comprehended under the limitations of humanity. 
But there is in Him a human aspect, like the bright side of 
a planet; that side is turned towards man, expressed out- 
wardly to man in man, and fully expressed in the man 
Jesus Christ." 2 I am at a loss how to classify this Christo- 
logical speculation. In some respects it reminds one of the 
kenotic theories of the Incarnation, according to which the 
Son of God in becoming man denuded Himself of the attri- 
butes of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, in 
order that He might be capable of living the life of a verit- 
ableman within the limits of humanity. Butinotherrespects 
it has no affinity with the views of kenotic Christologists, 
or indeed with any views that can be characterized as Chris- 
tian. The incarnation taught by Mr. Haweis has more resem- 
blance to that believed in by the worshippers of Brahma, 
than to that embodied in the creeds of the Christian Church. 
Christ is simply an emanation from the one universal sub- 
stance in which are elements of all sorts, the raw material 
out of which are manufactured all the individual beings which 

1 Thoughts for the Times, p. 82. 
1 Current Coin, p. 310. 



222 The Humiliation of Christ. 

together constitute the universe. He is the embodiment of 
the human element in the eternal Substance, as the stars 
are the embodiment of some other element. We should 
rather say He is an embodiment, for why Christ should be 
singled out as the solitary expression of the something in 
God that had affinity with men does not appear. All indi- 
vidual men, according to the Pantheistic theory of the 
universe, are incarnations of the human element in God, 
and all that can be affirmed of Christ is what Spinoza said 
of Him, viz., that He is, so far as known, the wisest and 
best of men. That is what Mr. Haweis would have said 
had he occupied any deliberately-chosen consistent philoso- 
phical standpoint; but being merely an eclectic and a child 
of the Zeitgeist, under its English form, he utters opinions 
on the subject of Christ's person which defy classification. 

That such crude, undigested, and mondescript views 
should permanently satisfy many earnest minds is not to be 
expected. The only use they can serve is to be a tempor- 
ary halting-place to those who, utterly out of sympathy 
with the formulated doctrines of the Creed, are yet unable 
to break away from Christianity and its Author. In this 
respect they are full of interest. It is certainly a striking 
phenomenon which is presented to our view in this nine- 
teenth century in the person of such a man as Mr. Haweis, 
a man regarding creeds and dogmatic systems with morbid 
disgust, and yet compelled by the evangelic records to rec- 
ognise in Jesus the Son of God in a sense in which the title 
can be applied to no other man. To some the phenomenon 
may appear a thing of evil omen, portending the disinte- 
gration of the Christian faith, and the ultimate dissolution 
of the Christian Church. But it has a bright, hopeful side, 
as well as a dark, discouraging one. It is Christianity re- 
newing its youth, making a new beginning. It is Christ, 
the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, presenting Him- 
self to men whose minds have become theologically a 
tabula rasa, and making on them, through His words of 
wisdom and deeds of holy love, an impression very similar 
to that which He made on the minds of His first disciples, 
and to which the most appropriate expression was given in 
the confession of Peter, " Thou art the Christ, the Son of the 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 223 

living God." It is very much to be desired that an impres- 
sion of this kind should be made at first hand on many 
minds in our day; for better far is even a crude elementary 
faith, right so far as it goes, which has been communicated 
direct to the soul by the Father in heaven, than a more de- 
veloped orthodox creed held as a tradition received from 
flesh and blood. Such a faith is vital, and, like all things 
living, it will grow, and as the result of growth it may ul- 
timately receive as truth dogmas from which at first it 
recoiled in incredulity, and so attain to the only orthodoxy 
which is of any value, that which is right in the spirit as 
well as in the letter, an orthodoxy of moral conviction, not 
of mechanical imitation. 

5. It remains now to consider the views of those who, 
while advocating a theory of Christ's person similar to that 
of Schleiermacher, according to which Christ is the ideal, 
perfect man — and nothing more — do so, not on philosophic 
grounds, but solely because they believe they can prove 
that such is the view presented in Scripture. Substantially 
the theory held by this school is the same as that of the 
old Socinians, the main difference being, that while the 
Socinians emphasized the distinction between God and 
man, the modern advocates of the Ideal Man theory empha- 
size the essential identity of the divine and the human, 
and hence feel able to appropriate phrases and to adopt 
modes of expression from which the old Socinians would 
have shrunk. Thus Rothe speaks of God as incarnate in 
Christ; quarrelling with orthodoxy only because it believes 
in an Incarnation limited to Christ, instead of teaching, as 
he does, that God is incarnate in redeemed humanity at 
large, and that in the Incarnation of Christ we have only 
the beginning of a process. 1 

The place of representative man in connection with this 
theory may justly be assigned to Beyschlag, who, in his 
work on the Christology of the New Testament, 2 has made 
a most elaborate and ingenious attempt to show that it is 
in accordance with the teaching both of our Lord and of 
the apostles. Beyschlag's thesis is that Jesus Christ was 

1 Dogmatik, ZweiterTheil, erste Abtheilung, p. 153. 

2 Die Christologie des Neuen Testaments, Berlin 1866. 



224 The Humiliation of Christ. 

the divine idea of humanity for the first time realized in 
history, the perfect man, and just because the perfect man 
the Son of God, the natures of God and of man being essen- 
tially identical. This he holds to be the doctrine taught 
not only in the synoptical Gospels, but even in the fourth 
Gospel, here joining issue with the great founder of the 
Tubingen school of criticism, Dr. Baur. As is well known 
to those familiar with his writings, Baur discovers in the 
New Testament three distinct types of Christology, the first 
and lowest being that of the synoptical Gospels, the second 
and intermediate the Pauline, and the third and highest 
that of the fourth Gospel. The first is Ebionitic in its char- 
acter, the Christ of the first three Gospels being a mere man 
endowed by the Holy Ghost with gifts and graces fitting for 
His Messianic office. In the second, Pauline type of Chris- 
tology, Christ is still only a man, but He is a man deified — 
a man placed in a central position towards the universe 
corresponding to the universalistic views of Christianity 
advocated by the apostle of the Gentiles, the first-born of 
every creature, the head and lord of creation, worthy to 
receive divine honour and worship of all. In the third type 
of Christology — that set forth in the fourth Gospel — Christ 
ceases to be veritable man, and becomes a God who has 
assumed a human body that He may become manifest to 
the world. Beyschlag, on the other hand, contends that 
the Christology of the fourth Gospel is essentially the same 
as that of the first three, the proof offered of this proposition 
forming part of an attempt to establish the Johannine 
authorship of that Gospel. Beyschlag says in effect, there 
is no need to stand in doubt as to Johannine authorship so 
far as the Christology of the fourth Gospel is concerned. 
For the Christology of that Gospel is just the Christology 
of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In all four Gospels one and 
the same Christ is found — a Christ who, when He calls 
Himself the Son of Man, means to assert that He is the man 
par excellence, the ideal man in whom all humanity's pos- 
sibilities are realized, and who, when He calls Himself the 
Son of God, means to assert no metaphysical identity of 
nature, but only to claim for Himself a sonship based on 
ethical affinity, and manifesting itself by intimate fellow- 



Modem Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 225 

ship of spirit, and therefore a sonship which, while in degree 
peculiar to Himself, is in kind common to Him with all 
good men. That Christ in the fourth Gospel much more 
frequently calls Himself by the latter name than in the 
other three, is simply due to the fact of his being placed in 
circumstances which make that natural in the Johannine 
representation. But what of Xhc pre-existence? Is that not 
a peculiar feature in the Johannine Christology ? Yes, 
Beyschlag replies, there is very notably a doctrine of pre- 
existence taught in the Gospel of John. But then the pre- 
existence is not such as the creeds of the Church mistakenly 
represented it. It is the pre-existence not of a real person, 
member of an eternally-existing essential trinity, but of a 
divine idea, an idea which is at once the Ebenbild of God 
— a mirror in which God sees His own image reflected — 
and the Urbild of man, the archetypal thought according 
to which God made man, destined in the course of the ages 
to be realized as it never had been before, in all its plero- 
matic fulness, in Jesus Christ. And when Christ asserts 
His pre-existence, it is not as a recollection of a previous 
conscious life in the bosom of God, but simply as an infer- 
ence from His own consciousness of unity in spirit with 
God. In proportion as it becomes clear to Him that He is 
; n perfect harmony with God, and therefore realizes the 
ideal of a humanity made in God's image, it also becomes 
clear to Him that He must have pre-existed as an idea in 
the divine mind, and in the language of poetry or imagin- 
ation may be said to have been in the bosom of the Father, 
holding delightful converse with Him throughout the ages 
before He was born into the world. 

I cannot here attempt a detailed examination of the 
proof offered by Beyschlag in support of these views, but 
must content myself with presenting a few samples of his 
exegesis, which may enable readers to form a clearer idea 
of the Christological scheme and to estimate its merits, 
while they will give me an opportunity of saying a few 
words on the important and interesting subject of Christ's 
self-witness, or the doctrine which He taught concerning 
His own pers-on. 

A prominent place in all Christological discussion is 



226 The Humiliation of Christ. 

due to the question, What is the precise import of the 
name which our Lord ordinarily and by preference em- 
ployed to designate Himself, the Son of Man ? On this 
question much diversity of opinion has prevailed, some re- 
garding the name as a title of dignity, others as expressive 
of indignity, while a third class of interpreters think that, 
as used by Christ, it combines both the senses. Beyschlag 
is very decidedly of opinion that it is a title of dignity — is, 
in fact, a synonym for Messiah. He thinks the source of 
this name for Messiah is the text in Daniel concerning one 
like unto the Son of Man; herein differing from Schleier- 
macher, who regarded this opinion as a baseless fancy; and 
he finds no difficulty in determining from the prophetic text 
the precise import of the title. " His appearance in heaven 
seems to point at a not human, but a divine essence, while 
yet the name Son of Man presupposes not a divine, but a 
human essence." The solution of the difficulty thus pre- 
sented is found in the consideration that in the idea of the 
Son of Man the human is not thought of in opposition to 
the divine, but as in affinity with it, so that the Messiah of 
Daniel is the heavenly man. He is man, not God; for He 
is conceived of as distinct from and dependent on God, but 
He is higher than any prophet; He is in heaven before He 
comes to earth to assume His kingdom, at home, so to 
speak, among the clouds of heaven, a companion of God, 
of celestial descent and heavenly essence. Hence it fol- 
lows that He pre-existed before His appearance on the 
earth; but whether the pre-existence be real or ideal only, 
a pre-existence in the council and will of God cannot be 
decided from the passage: the question was not present to 
the mind of the prophet. Combining this result with the 
Bible doctrine of the creation of man in God's image, the 
writer finally arrives at this formula: the in-heaven-pre- 
existing Son of Man was the archetype of humanity, the 
image of God, of whom mention is made in the creation- 
history. Furnished with this idea, he comes to the New 
Testament and endeavours to show that it is the key to the 
true meaning of the many texts in the Gospel, some fifty 
in all, in which the title Son of Man occurs. This 
Messianic title in the mouth of Jesus, we are told, signifies 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 227 

that He is not a man as other men, but the man, the abso- 
lute, human-divine man; and three passages are singled out 
in which the meaning is said to be specially apparent 
These are Mark ii. 10 (Matt. ix. 6; Luke v. 24); Mark ii. 
27, 28 (Matt. xii. 8; Luke vi. 5); and Matt. xii. 32 (Luke 
xii. 10). In the first it is said of the Son of Man that He 
hath power on the earth (Ini rrji yi}C) to forgive sin. The 
expression italicized is assumed to be set over against 
an unexpressed kv t<5 ovpavcp, and the following train of 
thought is extracted from the text: In heaven above God 
Himself, of course, forgives sin, but that His grace may be 
available to men He must have an organ upon earth, a 
Son of Man among the children of men, who knows the 
whole will of God in heaven, who as man can speak and 
act as one in complete unity with God, that is, the Messiah, 
as the man who is absolutely one with God, and the very 
image of God. In the second passage Christ claims for 
Himself, as Son of Man, lordship over the Sabbath day. 
Beyschlag thinks the Messianic import of the title in this 
place very clear, "since only as the Messiah can Jesus have 
the power to set aside a Mosaic, yea divine ordinance, like 
that of the Sabbath." He lays stress on the relation be- 
tween the two assertions: the Sabbath was made for man, 
and the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath, and thinks that 
the idea intended is this, that the Son of Man is archetype, 
prince, head of men, in whom the superiority to the Sab- 
bath, in principle belonging to humanity, becomes an 
actual authority to break through its prohibitions. The 
third text is the well-known one concerning blasphemy 
against the Son of Man. Our author's comments thereon 
are as follows: " Let us consider the relation here indicated 
between the Son of Man and the Holy Ghost. It is a 
relation of distinction, and yet of close connection. The 
distinction is, that in the Son of Man the revelation of God 
to men is made in mediated, and, so far, veiled form, there- 
fore may be misunderstood, so that the blasphemer can 
always have the benefit of the prayer, "Forgive them, 
they know not what they do;" but in the Holy Ghost the 
revelation is made immediately, inwardly, therefore unmis- 
takably; therefore there is no excuse for the blasphemer. 



228 The Humiliation of CJirist. 

At the same time, the Holy Ghost is not thought of as 
above the Son of Man, but in Him. The Son of Man is 
the man who has the spirit of God in His entire fulness, 
whose inmost though unrecognised essence is the Holy 
Spirit, the man whose human appearance is the medium of 
the absolute revelation of God. To this corresponds the 
fact, obvious in the text, that the blasphemy of the Son of 
Man is represented as the most heinous of pardonable 
sins." : These are very questionable interpretations of 
familiar sayings of Christ. Regarding the last of the three, 
in particular, I am very sure that it misses the point. 
" Offences against the Son of Man are pardonable, but that 
is all; such sins form the extreme limit of the forgivable," 
so gives the sense Beyschlag, very erroneously in my 
judgment. Jesus did not mean to represent sins against 
Himself as barely forgivable; but rather, with characteristic 
magnanimity, as easily forgivable, because not more heinous 
than sins against any other good man, and due to the same 
general causes. He looked upon it as a thing of course 
that He should be exposed to misunderstanding, calumny, 
criticism, contradiction, and that just because He was the 
Son of Man; and He warned the Pharisees of their danger, 
not because they were sinning against Him, the ideal Man, 
but because they were not sinning against Him through 
ignorance, misapprehension, and prejudice, but against the 
Holy Ghost; being convinced in their hearts that Beelzebub 
could not do the things they saw Him do, yet pretending 
to believe that he could and did. The second passage — 
that relating to the lordship of the Son of Man — does not, 
any more than the one just referred to, require for its inter- 
pretation that we understand the name Son of Man as a 
title of dignity. Christ claimed power to exercise lordship 
over the Sabbath in the interest of humanity, on the ground 
of His sympathy with mankind — a far more reliable inter- 
preter of the divine purpose in the institution than the 
merciless rigour of the Pharisees. The Sabbath, He con- 
tended, was made for man; it is a gift of God to weary, 
burdened sons of Adam. Charity was the motive of the 
institution, and I, just because I am the Son of Man, heart 

1 Christolo^ie, p. 24. 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 229 

and soul in sympathy with humanity, and bearing its 
burden on my spirit, am Lord of the Sabbath day, fitted 
and entitled to say how it may best be observed. The 
first of the three texts is more obscure, though one can 
have no hesitation in pronouncing Beyschlag's interpreta- 
tion forced and artificial, as even he himself seems to feel, 
from the apologetic manner in which he introduces it, 
asking: " Do we draw too much from the words when we 
find in them the following train of thought ? " To my view, 
our Lord meant to meet with a redoubled, intensified nega- 
tive the Pharisaic notions in respect to the forgiveness of 
sin. They viewed God's relation to sin altogether from the 
side of His majesty and holiness. The pardon of sin was 
an affair of state, performed with a grudge, and with awe- 
inspiring ceremony, and competent only to the divine king. 
Christ regarded God's relation to sin from the side of His 
grace and charity. In effect, He says to His sanctimonious 
hearers: God is not such an one as ye imagine Him. He 
is not severe and implacable, and slow to pardon offences, 
and jealous of His prerogative in the rare grudging exercise 
of mercy. He is good and ready to forgive, and He has no 
desire to monopolize the privilege of forgiving. He is will- 
ing that it should be exercised by all in whom dwells His 
own spirit of love, that men on earth should imitate the 
Father in Heaven, and say to a penitent: Thy sins be for- 
given. My right to forgive rests on this, that I am the Son 
of Man, the sympathetic friend of the sinful, full of the 
grace and charity of heaven; but as this is a reason which 
ye seem unable to appreciate, let me show you in another 
way that I have the authority ye call in question by heal- 
ing the pardoned one's physical malady. 

In these texts, as I understand them, the title Son of 
Man signifies the sympathetic man, qui nihil humani alienum 
putat. In other texts the title seems rather to signify the 
unprivileged man par excellence. To this class belongs the 
familiar pathetic saying: "The foxes have holes, and the 
birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not 
where to lay His head." Beyschlag, indeed, claims this 
text also as a support to his theory, paraphrasing it, though 
Son of Man, yet such is my lot. But surely it is far more 



230 The Humiliation of Christ. 

natural to find in the name the reason of the fact stated, 
and to read, Such is my lot because I am the Son of Man, 
and nothing else is to be looked for in my company. This 
construction is further recommended by the consideration 
that it removes from the saying a tone of querulousness 
which, on the other view, seems to characterize it, but 
which was utterly foreign to Christ's temper. Christ spoke 
of His lot as a homeless one, not as a very hard, unworthy 
lot for Him, the Ideal Man, but as a matter of course for 
the unprivileged Son of Man, in the same way as He 
regarded blasphemy against Himself as a commonplace 
occurrence, not as a specially heinous offence; for why 
should not He, the Son of Man, be evil spoken of as well as 
any other son of man ? So, in the parable of the tares, the 
lesson of patience with evil in the kingdom is tacitly en- 
forced by the consideration that the Son of Man has to 
endure the counterworking of the evil one, and takes it 
patiently. I, the Son of Man, have to see my labour in 
sowing the seed of the kingdom marred; it is a part of the 
curriculum of trial through which I must pass. I meekly 
accept my lot as the Son of Man; see that ye bear kindred 
experiences in the same spirit. 

These two attributes, then, at least, are denoted by the 
title under consideration. The Son of Man is the unpriv- 
ileged man and the sympathetic man. But He is more. 
For there are texts in which the Son of Man, now humbled 
and unprivileged, is spoken of as the expectant of a king- 
dom, texts in which a conscious reference to the passage 
in Daniel is apparent, showing that it is at least one of the 
Old Testament sources of the title. 1 These texts show 
that if Jesus was emphatically the unprivileged man, He 
was so not by constraint, but voluntarily and from philan- 
thropic motives, and that His position as the Man of Sor- 
rows involved an incongruity between lot and intrinsic 
dignity. The Son of Man is more than He seems; there 
is a mystery about Him; the name assumed, while revealing 
much conceals something; revealing His heart, it conceals 
His dignity, it is an incognito congenial to the humour of 

1 Among other sources which have been suggested are the eighth psalm and 
the Protevangelium. Keim favours the former, Hofmann the latter. 






Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 231 

a loving lowly nature. I agree, therefore, with such writers 
as Keim, who recognise in this title, Son of Man, the ex- 
pression of a double consciousness, that of one whose present 
state and mind are lowly, and that of one who knows that 
a high destiny awaits Him; the former phase of conscious- 
ness being the one mainly turned outwards towards the 
world; th2 latter, the one kept in the background or in the 
shade — the side turned inwards, away from the light. And 
with special reference to Beyschlag's theory, I must main- 
tain that the title Son of Man, as ordinarily used by Christ, 
denotes rather the reality of His humanity than its ideality, 
though the latter as a fact I do not deny. The reality is 
the thing emphasized, with what motive may be a question. 
Dorner and others say, to bring out the truth that human- 
ity is not the native element of the speaker, and just on* 
that account is the thing which needs to be asserted. 
Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man, because He is conscious- 
of being more than man. It is doubtful if we are entitled 
to go so far, though certainly, while it is not possible to» 
demonstrate to the satisfaction of opponents that a divine 
consciousness forms the background of the human con- 
sciousness directly expressed by the title, the view of 
Dorner fits well into the doctrine of Christ's divinity, as- 
sumed to be established by other evidence. I prefer to 
find the secret of the emphasis with which Jesus asserted 
the reality of His humanity in the spirit of humility and 
love which regulated His whole conduct. He called Him- 
self Son of Man as the bearer of the grace of the divine 
kingdom, even as He called Himself Christ as the head of 
the kingdom, to whom all its citizens owed allegiance, and 
Son of God as the proper object not only of obedience but 
of worship. 

Into the elaborate discussion of the last-mentioned title 
contained in Beyschlag's treatise I cannot enter. Suffice 
it to say that in the theory now under review the two titles, 
Son of Man and Son of God, are practically equivalent. 
From an analysis of texts the author determines the fol- 
lowing as the characteristics of Christ's divine sonship: 
dependence on His heavenly Father, likeness to His Father, 
and heavenly descent, implying negatively sinlessness, and 



232 The Humiliation of Christ. 

positively that Christ is not an ordinary man, but the man, 
the heavenly man. The chief interest of his discussion of 
the Johannine account of our Lord's teaching concerning 
His person turns on the manner in which he deals with the 
doctrine of pre-existence. That he resolves into an ideal 
pre-existence in the divine mind. As a sample of his way 
of making texts conform to his theory, we may take his 
remarks on the words, " Before Abraham was, I am." * He 
admits that the text is susceptible of the traditional inter- 
pretation, but contends that it is equally susceptible of his, 
which is to the following effect : " Jesus beyond question speaks 
of Himself as the Messiah. Abraham had rejoiced to see 
in vision the day of Messiah's appearing. What more 
natural than the thought: Before Abraham could be upon 
the earth must the Messiah have been already in heaven; 
before God could choose Abraham to be the father of the 
people of the promise, the content of the promise, Christ, 
must have existed for God and in God." The pre-existence 
asserted is thus a mere logical inference, and it is a mere 
pre-existence in idea or in purpose. This may be a very 
simple thought, as Beyschlag calls it, but it does not seem 
a very likely thought to be introduced with a " Verily, 
verily, I say unto you." Such a solemn formula was fitted 
to prevent hearers from seeing the real nature of the asser- 
tion as a mere truism. If Jesus had meant nothing more 
than that God's promise of a Messiah presupposed the ex- 
istence in God's mind of the Messianic idea, He would 
naturally have uttered the word as a matter of course, not 
with the solemn preface of a " Verily, verily." Beyschlag 
thinks the use of the present tense eijui, I am, instead of 
yMyr, is in favour of his interpretation. Before Abraham 
was, I was, would have expressed real existence; " Before 
Abraham was I am," expresses merely ideal existence. 
But by the same reasoning we might make out the existence 
of God Himself to be merely ideal, which yet Beyschlag 
does not believe it to be. For is it not written in the nine- 
tieth psalm, " Before the mountains were brought forth, 
■ere ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, from 
everlasting to everlasting, Thou (art), O God." I am is 

1 John viii. 58. 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 233 

the proper expression to denote eternal existence; I was 
would have conveyed the idea of a temporal existence, 
though earlier than that of Abraham; in other words, the 
phrase would have suggested an Arian idea of the pre- 
existent state. 

Not to go over all the texts discussed, I give just one 
more sample of Beyschlag's style of interpretation. In 
John xiii. 3 he finds the culmination of the process by which 
Jesus gradually came to know who He was, — viz. the Ideal 
Man, Ebenbild of God, Urbild of man, — and what therefore 
must have been His history before He came into the world. 
The evangelist, we are told, expressly signalizes that the 
peculiar consciousness of Jesus first reached the acme of 
clearness on the threshold of death. When, in the intro- 
duction of the history of the passion, he writes: Jesus, 
knowing that the Father had. given all things into His hands, 
and that He was come from God, and went to God, this obser- 
vation were wholly idle and unintelligible, if thereby he 
did not mean to say that Jesus then became more distinctly 
and clearly conscious than ever before of His relation to 
God, His origin from Him, and His return to Him. In this 
instance Beyschlag's ingenious but artificial exegesis seems 
to me to reach the acme of unsatisfactoriness. In the 
words quoted, the evangelist expresses in the first place 
his own sense of the magnitude of the condescension of 
his Lord, by contrasting the intrinsic dignity of Christ with 
the lowly act He performed in the supper chamber. He 
to whom all things were given, who came forth from God, 
and who was about to go to God, did thus and thus. He 
alludes to Christ's consciousness of all this (e£8<as 6'It?6ovs), 
that the act recorded may appear not merely outwardly an 
act of condescension, but an act expressive of a wonderful 
spirit of condescension. He who did this had not forgot 
who He was and what was His high destiny. All the truth 
about Himself was present to His mind, as at other times, 
so also then. The intention of the narrator is not to assert 
a heightening of the self-consciousness of Christ, but simply 
to remark for the sake of contrast that it was there. The 
main question of course is, what were the contents of that 
self-consciousness. Into that subject I do not here go at 



234 The Humiliation of Christ. 

length; only I may remark, that Beyschlag's theory seems 
to me to make Christ's consciousness a very artificial one. 
He ascribes to Himself a great many high-sounding titles, 
and makes concerning Himself a great many extraordinary 
affirmations, which have hitherto led the whole catholic 
Church to believe that nothing could do justice to them 
short of the doctrine of a personal pre-existence before the 
Incarnation, but which we are given to understand are 
nothing more than inferences (or intuitions) from a certain 
opinion Jesus entertained of Himself as the Ideal Man. 
Starting with a purely human consciousness of His relation 
to God, as His sinless, holy child, He comes by and by to 
think of Himself as "the Son of Man" prophesied of in 
Daniel, the thought dawning on Him at the Jordan when 
He was baptized; and this idea once conceived gives birth 
to all the mystic utterances recorded in the Gospels; utter- 
ances rising ever higher and higher, and revealing an ever 
increasing clearness of consciousness — one notable stage in 
the development being signalized by the saying recorded in 
Matt. xi. 27, and the climax being reached on the occasion 
of the feet-washing, when Jesus at length knew, as He 
never knew before, that all things were delivered to Him, 
that He came forth from God, and was about to return to 
God. Could a consciousness having such a genesis be pro- 
perly called knowledge ? Every one of the mystic affirma- 
tions made by Jesus concerning Himself is simply an infer- 
ence from a theory. Christ speaks not as one conscious 
of certain things as matters of fact concerning Himself, but 
as a Platonic philosopher, out of the depths of His inner 
consciousness constructing a theory concerning His person. 
He infers His pre-existence from the notion of His being 
the Ideal Man, just as Plato inferred, from his way of con- 
ceiving the universe, the eternal existence of the ideas of 
all things in the divine mind. And the pre-existence is 
of the same sort. It is merely a notional existence. The 
author indeed is not willing to allow this. He maintains 
that the pre-existence is real as well as ideal. The pre- 
existence, he tells us, is in the highest sense real, and even 
personal in a sense, for how can the eternal image (Ebenbild) 
of the personal God, in which God reflects Himself, be 



Modern Humanistic Theories of Christ's Person. 235 

otherwise than personal ? yet over against the existence 
of the historic personality it is ideal. It is real not only 
because all that God thinks and wills here is in Him already 
reality, but because there can be nothing more real than 
the divine essence as God represents it to Himself, and 
distinguishes it from Himself in order to reveal it outwardly; 
ideal, because in comparison with the historical person it 
is not identical therewith, but is the Urbild, the eternal 
idea, the inter-divine principle of this historical person. 

It will be evident to every one who endeavours to form 
to himself a distinct conception of the pre-existence of 
Christ as represented by Beyschlag, that the theory advo- 
cated by this author with much ingenuity does not, any 
more than the theories previously examined, escape from 
the charge of mystery. For myself, I confess my inability 
to form any clear idea of what the pre-existent state of the 
Logos is in this theory. It is neither one thing nor another; 
it hovers between idea and reality; it is impersonal, yet 
shares in the personality, thought, and will of God. And 
while speculatively indefinite, the theory has no practical 
compensations to commend it. It is liable to the grave 
objection that it includes the possibility of seeing in the 
Incarnation a manifestation of gracious, free condescension. 
Christ did not come into the world, freely, to save sinners. 
He was sent, as we are all sent, without knowledge, con- 
sciousness, or choice; sent in the sense of being born into 
an existence which dates from birth. All beyond, the so- 
called pre-existence, is simply a nimbus engendered by a 
poetic imagination. 

In closing this review of modern humanistic theories of 
Christ's person, are we not justified in repeating the ques- 
tion: To whom shall we go to escape mystery ? We cannot 
go to Baur, for there we meet with a Christ whom theory 
requires to be sinful, while all the facts testify to sinless- 
ness. Neither can we go to Schleiermacher, for there we 
meet with a Christ who is a moral miracle, while in the 
interest of naturalistic philosophy He is not allowed to be 
miraculous in other respects. We cannot go to Keim, for 
there we meet with a Christ who is a natural-supernatural 
being, a mere man, yet something altogether exceptional 



236 The Humiliation of Christ. 

and outside the sphere of ordinary humanity. Still less 
can we go to Haweis and other popular apostles of theo- 
logical liberalism, for there we meet with a Christ who is 
a congeries of crudities, not to say absurdities. We cannot 
even find rest to our souls in the Christ offered to our faith 
by Beyschlag; for while we gladly accept Him as the ideal 
of humanity realized, we cannot understand the relation 
in which He stands to God, and are at a loss to know 
whether what is presented to our view be the eternal Son 
of the catholic theory, or something else of which we can 
form no distinct idea. We therefore decide to remain with 
the Christ of the creeds, feeling that if there be in Him 
that which perplexes and confounds our intellect, there is 
also that which gives unspeakable satisfaction to the heart; 
a Christ who came from glory to save the lost, who hum- 
bled Himself to become man and die on the cross; a 
Christ in whom God manifests Himself as a self-sacrificing 
being, and exhibits to our view the maximum of Gracious 
Possibility. 



LECTURE VI. 

CHRIST THE SUBJECT OF TEMPTATION AND 
MORAL DEVELOPMENT 

We are now to consider the humiliation of Christ on its 
ethical side; that is, we are to regard Christ on earth as 
subject to an experience of temptation, and undergoing a 
process of moral development. 

I. With reference to the former of these topics, the teach- 
ing of Scripture is that Christ was tempted in all respects 
as we are, without sin. The task prescribed is, to present 
such a view of our Lord's curriculum of temptation, as shall 
hold the balance impartially between the two clauses of 
the statement just quoted; allowing the subject tempted, 
on the one hand, to be in all respects possible like unto 
His Brethren; and on the other, preserving the sinlessness 
of His nature and of His conduct inviolable. That the task 
is no easy one, is shown by the history of opinion, which 
presents variations ranging from the denial of everything 
in Christ's human nature that could be even the innocent 
occasion of temptation, to the opposite extreme of an 
ascription to that nature of such inherent vitium as, without 
external provocatives, directly involved temptations to sin 
of the most violent kind. 

If we ask ourselves the question, What was there in 
Christ, on the supposition of His perfect sinlessness, which 
helped to make temptation, in some respects at least, if not 
in all, possible ? it readily occurs to refer to the physical 
infirmities of His human nature. Every being who is cap- 
able of hunger and thirst, pleasure and pain, hope and fear, 
joy and sorrow, is liable to be tempted; for he may be 
placed in circumstances in which he is obliged to choose 



23S The Humiliation of Christ. 

between doing wrong and denying himself the gratification 
of an appetite, a desire, or an affection in itself innocent. 
If we assume that, in becoming man, Christ took unto 
Himself a nature subject to such infirmities as are common 
to men, then we impose on ourselves the necessity of ad- 
mitting that He entered into a state involving at least some 
experience of temptation. This assumption the Church 
catholic has in all ages made. Damascenus but expresses 
the common faith of Christians when he says: '• We confess 
that Christ assumed all the physical and sinless affections 
of man. For He took the whole man, and all that belongs 
to man save sin. These physical sinless affections are the 
things which are not in our power, and which have entered 
into human life through the curse pronounced upon trans- 
gression — such as hunger, thirst, weariness, toil, tears, cor- 
ruption, dread of death, fear, the agony, whence sweat and 
drops of blood." ' Even this obvious and elementary truth, 
however, has not escaped contradiction. As is well known 
to students of Church history, the doctrine that Christ had 
experience in His body of the infirmities above enumerated 
was denied by one of the most eminent of the early Fathers, 
viz. Hilary of Poitiers, who may be regarded as the rep- 
resentative of one extreme in opinion on the present subject. 
This Father taught in the most explicit terms (for how- 
ever obscure his style, there can here be no reasonable 
doubt as to his meaning), that Christ's body was not sub- 
ject to pain, nor His soul to fear. In the crucifixion Christ 
sustained in His flesh the onset, but not the pain, of what 
we call the passion. When the nails were driven into His 
hands, and the spear was thrust into His side, it was as 
when a dart pierces water, or punctures fire, or wounds the 
air; the dart retains its power of piercing and puncturing 
and wounding, but does not exercise it on these objects; 
because it is not in the nature of water to be pierced, or of 
fire to be punctured, or of air to be wounded. The Lord 
Jesus Christ did indeed suffer when He was smitten, sus- 
pended, crucified, and when He died; but the passion rush- 
ing on His body, though a real passion, did not exert the 

1 De Fide Orthodoxd, lib. iii cap. xx. The Greek expression for sinless physi 
cal infirmities, as employed by Damas., is, tcc q>v6ix<x xai ddiafiXT/ra itatw. 



Christ the Subject of Teinptation. 239 

nature of passion; the virtue of His body, without sense of 
pain or penalty, receiving the violence of the penalty raging 
against itself. 1 All the other physical infirmities were 
equally unreal, the outward phenomena being admitted as 
matters of fact but not allowed to retain the physiological 
or psychological meaning which they have for ordinary 
men. Christ hungered, thirsted, and wept; but these phe- 
nomena were simply an assumption of the custom or habit 
of the human body, in order to demonstrate the truth of His 
body. There is no evidence that Christ always ate or drank 
or grieved, when He hungered or thirsted or shed tears; 
but even when He did actually take food and drink, He 
was not satisfying the need of His body, but simply accom- 
modating Himself to custom. 2 The mental affections 
ascribed to Christ in the gospel record, in connection with 
the passion, are explained away in similar fashion. His 
fear of death is absolutely denied. 3 His soul-sorrow in the 
garden was simply solicitude for the disciples, lest the 
coming trial should prove too much for their faith; His 
prayer that the cup might pass, if possible, was simply a 
prayer that God would spare these disciples a trial above 
what they could bear; 4 when He said, " My soul is exceed- 
ing sorrowful even unto death" He did not mean, by the 
expression " even unto death," to indicate that death was 

1 De Trinitate, lib. x. c. 23: In quo, quaravis aut ictus incideret aut vulnus 
descenderet, aut nodi concurrerent, aut suspensio elevaret, afferrent quidem haec 
impetum passionis, non tamen dolorem passionis inferrent: at telum aliquod aut 
aquam perforans, aut ignem compungens, aut aera vulnerans, omnes quidem has 
passiones naturae suae infert, ut foret, ut compungat, ut vulneret: sed naturam 
suam in haec passio illata non retinet, dum in natura non est vel aquam forari, vel 
pungi ignem, vel aerem vulnerari, quamvis naturae teli sit et vulnerare, et compun- 
gere, et forare. Passus quidem est Dominus Jesus Christus, dum caeditur, dum 
suspenditur, dum crucifigitur, dum moritur: sed in corpus Domini irruens passio, nee 
non fuit passio, nee tamen naturam passionis exseruit; dum et poenali ministerio 
desaevit, et Virtus corporis sine sensu poenae vim poenae in se desaevientis excepit. 

5 Ibid. x. c. 24: Neque enim turn cum sitivit aut esurivil aut flevit, bibisse 
Dominus aut manducasse aut doluisse monstratus est ; sed ad demonstrandam cor- 
poris veritatem, corporis consuetudo suscepia est, ita ut naturae nostrae consuetu- 
dine consuetudini sit corporis satisfactum. Vel cum potum et cibum accepit, non 
se necessitati corporis, sed consuetudini tribuit. 

3 Ibid. x. c. 27. 

* Ibid. x. c. 37: Nod ergo sibi tristis est, neque sibi orat; sed illis quos monet 
orare pervigiles, ne in :os ca ] jc passionis incumbat; quern a se transire orat, ne ia 
his scilicet maneat. 



240 The Humiliation of Christ. 

the cause of His sorrow, but the end or limit of it; as only 
in the things which were to happen to Him before His 
death, — in the nocturnal apprehension, the scourging, the 
spitting, the crown of thorns, — was there any cause for 
solicitude lest the faith of His followers should fail; all that 
happened afterwards, such as the miracles accompanying 
the crucifixion and the resurrection, being rather fitted to 
confirm their weak faith. 1 As for the bloody sweat and 
the ministry of angels in the garden, it being impossible to 
find anything in the case of the disciples which could ac- 
count for these, they are got rid of by the remark, that in 
very many Latin and Greek codices no mention is made 
of them; 2 and for those whom this summary course might 
not satisfy, it is added, that if Christ was sad for us, He 
must also have been comforted for us, and that the bloody 
sweat was no sign of infirmity, because it is contrary to 
nature to sweat blood, and therefore the phenomenon must 
be regarded as a display of power, rather than as an effect 
of weakness.* 

The grounds on which Hilary based this strange doketic 
view of our Lord's human nature were these: Counter facts 
and words recorded in the Gospels indicative of power and 
triumph rather than of weakness and fear; the miraculous 
birth; and the sinlessness of Christ. As to the first: how 
could that body have the nature of our pain, which, unlike 
our bodies, could walk without sinking on the water ? how 
could He burn with thirst, who is able to give drink to the 
thirsty; or endure the pangs of hunger, who could curse the 
tree that refused its fruits to Him ? Again, how can He 
have feared death, who voluntarily delivered Himself to the 
armed band; or felt sadness in view of death, who, in ref- 
erence to that very death, said: " Now is the Son of Matt 

1 De Trinitate, x. cc. 36, 39. 

* Ibid. x. c. 41: Nee sane ignorandum a nobis est, et in Graecis et in Latinis 
codicibus complurimis, vel de adveniente angelo, vel de sudore sanguinis nil 
scriptum reperiri. 

3 Ibid. x. c. 41: Si nobis tristis est, necesse est ut propter nos sit comfortatus; 
quia qui de nobis tristis est, et de nobis comfortatus est, ea comfortatus est condi- 
rione qua tristis est. Sudorem vero nemo infirmilati audebit deputare; quia et 
contra naturam est sudare sanguinem. Nee infirmitas est, quod potestas, non se 
cundum naturae consuetudinem, gessit. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 241 

glorified; " or experienced real desertion when He uttered 
the cry: " My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me ?" 
who shortly before had said to His judges: " Henceforth 
shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of 
power " ? ' As to the second ground of the theory, Hilary 
held that, in consequence of the miraculous conception, the 
body of Christ necessarily differed in its properties from the 
bodies of ordinary men. Inasmuch as it was born of the 
Virgin, it was a real body; but because it was conceived by 
the power of the Holy Ghost, it was a body free from all 
infirmity. 2 Not formed of terrestrial elements, although 
deriving its origin from the mystery of conception, the body 
of the Son of Man was exempt from the evils of a merely 
terrestrial body; the power of the Highest communicating 
to it His own virtue, while forming it in the Virgin's 
womb.* Finally, as to the third ground of his peculiar 
theory, Hilary held himself entitled or bound to exclude 
Christ's humanity from all participation in infirmity, because 
of its sinlessness, which he regarded as the result of the 
miraculous birth. He made no distinction between vice in 
the moral sense and infirmity in the physical sense, and 
from the absence of the former from the humanity of 
Christ he inferred the absence of the latter. In Christ, he 
held, was the truth of the human body, but not its vices, 
the similitude of sinful flesh, but not the flesh of sin itself. 
The Saviour's humanity, having a peculiar origin, was free 
from the sins and the vices of humanity coming into being 
by ordinary generation. 4 

1 De Trinitate, x. cc. 23, 24, 27, 29, 31. 

2 Ibid. x. c. 35: Genuit etenim ex se corpus, sed quod conceptum esset ex 
Spiritu; habens quidem in se sui corporis veritatem, sed non habens naturae 
infirmitatem: dum et corpus lllud corporis Veritas est quod generatur ex virgine: 
et extra corporis nostri infirmitatem est, quod spiritalis conceptionis sumpsit 
exordium. 

3 Ibid. x. c. 44: Extra terreni est corporis mala, non terrenis inchoatum corpus 
elementis, etsi originem filii hominis sanctus Spiritus per sacramentum conceptionis 
invexit. Nempe et Altissimi virtus virtutem corporis, quod ex conceptione Spiritus 
Virgo gignebat, admiscuit. 

4 Ibid. x. c. 25: Habuit enim corpus, sed originis suae proprium; neque ex 
vitiis humanae conceptionis existens, sed in formam corporis nostri virtutis suae 
potestate subsistens: gerens quidem nos per formam servi, sed a peccatis et a vitiis 
humani corporis liber. So also c. 35: in natura ejus corporis infirmitatem naturae 
corporeae non fuisse. . . . et passionem illam licet illata corpori sit, non tamen 



242 The Humiliation of Christ. 

It is not surprising that men should be unwilling, or 
almost unable, to believe that a theologian of such eminence 
as Hilary could invent or countenance a theory so open to 
the charge of Doketism as the one of which an outline has 
just been given; and, accordingly, many attempts have 
been made to apologise for his views, and to bring them 
into tolerable accord with Catholic orthodoxy. So far as 
I can judge, these attempts are by no means successful. 
The best thing that could be said in Hilary's behalf, were 
it well grounded, is the statement made by Chemnitz, on 
the authority of Bonaventura, that William of Paris had 
seen a writing of the same Father, in which the doctrine 
taught in the treatise on the Trinity concerning Christ's 
human nature was retracted. 1 The apology, however, most 
in favour with theologians, both Catholic and Protestant, 
is, that Hilary's intention was to deny, not the reality, but 
the necessity of our Lord's experience of infirmity; in the 
words of Dorner, " to avoid representing the weakness of 
Christ as a physical determination and necessity; and, on 
the contrary, to view all His sufferings as deeds, that is, as 
ethical." 2 But this representation is doubly inaccurate. 
In the first place, Hilary does distinctly deny the reality 
of the pain supposed to be endured by Christ. What our 
Lord suffered on the cross was the impetus of the passion, 
not the pain of it. He was, so to speak, as one whose body 
is under chloroform, and while unconscious through its 
influence, undergoes surgical operations which in ordinary 
circumstances would produce pain. What Christ willed, 
therefore, was not to endure real pain, which was foreign 
to His miraculously conceived body, but simply to sustain 
assaults which would have caused pain to any other man. 
Hilary, in short, made Christ's whole experience of infirmity 
as doketic as Cyril made His growth in knowledge; it was 

naturam dolendi corpori intulisse: quia quamvis forma corporis nostri esset in 
Domino, non tamen in vitiosae infirmitatis nostrae esset corpore qui non esset in 
origine, quod ex conceptu Spiritus sancti Virgo progenuit: quod licet sexus sui 
officio genuerit, tamen non terrenae conceptionis suscepit elementis. 

1 De duabus natitris, c. 3, p. 16. 

2 Person of Christ, div. i. vol. ii. p. 413. To the same effect Thomisius, 
Christi Person und Werk, ii. p. 183. Aquinas, Summa, pars iii. q. 15, says: 
Non veritatem doloris, sed necessitatem excludere mtendit. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 243 

simply an economic accommodation to the fashion of that 
humanity which He had assumed. The painless One freely 
subjected Himself to experiences which ordinarily cause 
pain, just as, according to Cyril, the omniscient One, out 
of respect for the demands of the kenosis, consented to 
seem ignorant, and accommodate the manifestation of a 
knowledge perfect in itself from the first, to the stages of 
His physical growth. But if this comparison be disallowed, 
then we cannot do better than fall back on one employed 
by Hilary himself to explain his view, viz. between the way 
in which Christ bore griefs and pains, and the way in which 
He bore sins. We are accustomed to think of Christ as 
bearing sin, in the sense of bearing real griefs and pains as 
their penalty. But Hilary's doctrine is, that Christ bore 
grief as He bore sin. Quoting the prophetic passage begin- 
ning with the words, " surely He hath borne our griefs," 
he proceeds to say: "Therefore the opinion of human 
judgment is deceived, thinking that this man feels pain 
because He suffers. For, while bearing our sins, as having 
assumed the body of our sin, He Himself nevertheless sins 
not. For He was sent in the similitude of sinful flesh; 
bearing, indeed, sins in the flesh, but ours. So likewise He 
endures pain for us; not, however, as experiencing the sense 
of our pain, because He was found in fashion as a man, 
having in Himself the body of pain, but not having the 
nature which can feel pain; because though His habit is 
that of man, His origin is not of man, being due to a 
miraculous conception by the power of the Holy Ghost. 
Hence He was esteemed to be stricken with pain, smitten, 
and afflicted. For He took the form of a servant, and the 
fact of His being a man born of the Virgin gave rise to the 
opinion, that in His passion He endured the pain which is 
natural to us." x 

1 De Trinitate, x. c. 47: Hie peccata nostra portat, et pro nobis dolet: el not 
txistimavimus eum in doloribus esse, et in plaga, et in vexatione. Ipse autetn 
vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras, et itifirmitatus est propter peccata 
nostra. Fallitur ergo humanae aestimationis opinio, putans hunc (hinc ?) dolere 
quod patitur. Portans enim peccata nostra, peccati nostri scilicet corpus assumens, 
tamen ipse non peccat. Missus namque est in peccati carnis similitudine; portans 
quidem in carne peccata, sed nostra. Et pro nobis dolet, non et doloris nostri 
dolet sensu: quia et habitu ut homo repertus, habens in se doloris corpus, sed non 



244 TJic Humiliation of Christ. 

Conceding, however, the point as to the reality of Christ's 
experience of pain, I remark in the second place, with re- 
spect to the apology for Hilary now under consideration, 
that it does not suffice to clear that Father from the charge 
of doketism to say, that he merely wished to make the 
Saviour's endurance of suffering a matter, not of necessity, 
but of free will. For there are two senses in which volun- 
tariness may be predicated of Christ's sufferings and expei- 
ences of infirmity; one which is perfectly compatible with 
the ascription to His human nature of the same liability to 
sinless infirmity as that under which ordinary men lie; an- 
other, which excludes that liability, and makes all Christ's 
pains the miraculous effects of the forthputting at Hir 
pleasure of His divine power. To make this distinction 
plain, let me quote and comment on a statement of opinion, 
on the point in hand, by an orthodox doctor of a later age, 
who held what Hilary is supposed to have intended to 
teach, and who brought his views to bear against the prev- 
alent errors of the Adoptianists. Alcuin, in his treatise 
against Felix of Urgellis, refuting the opinion that Christ 
was by natural condition a servant, says: " The Catholic 
verity confesses that Christ had all the infirmities of the 
flesh which He assumed, voluntarily, when He wished: a 
voluntary and true hunger when He came hungering to the 
fig-tree; a voluntary and true weariness when He sat down, 
fatigued with His journey, by the well; a voluntary and 
true wound, when He was pierced in the side by the soldier's 
spear; a voluntary and true death, when with bowed head 
He gave up the ghost upon the cross; a voluntary and true 
burial, when Joseph and Nicodemus placed Him, taken 
down from the cross, in the sepulchre. All these infirmi- 
ties of the flesh, voluntary indeed, yet true, Christ had, be- 
cause He took the nature of human flesh, not in phantasy, 
but in truth." l Take now one of these infirmities, say the 

habeas naturam dolendi, dum et ut hominis habitus est, et origo non hominis est, 
nato eo de conceptione Spiritus sancti. Hinc itaque aestimatus est et in doloribus, 
et in plaga et in vexatione esse. Formam enim servi accepit: et natus ex virgine 
homo opinionem nobis naturalis sibi in passione doloris invexit. 

1 Alcuini Opera, Adv. Felicem, lib. vi. cap. iv.: Catholica Veritas confitetur 
secundum veram substantiam carnis, omnes ejusdem carnis, quas suscepit, infirmi- 
tates voluntarias habere Christum, cum voluisset Voluntariam namque et veraro 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 245 

weariness by the well, that we may see the two different 
senses in which voluntariness may be predicated of it. We 
may say that Christ was voluntarily weary, meaning- that 
He permitted — that is, abstained from using divine power 
to prevent — the heat of the sun and the long- journey on 
foot to have their natural effect on a physical frame, as 
liable to be acted on by these causes as that of any other 
man. Voluntariness, thus understood, is perfectly com- 
patible with the doctrine that Christ's humanity in physical 
constitution was exactly the same as ours. It is a volun- 
tariness of this kind, not opposed to, but in harmony with, 
a reign of physical law, that Cyril teaches when he says, 
with reference to the death of Christ: " Therefore He ap- 
peared in our nature, and made His own body subject to 
corruption, according to the reasons inherent in nature, in 
order that He, being Himself the Life, might implant 
therein the good which belonged to Him — that is, life." 1 
John of Damascus means the same thing when he says that 
" our infirmities were in Christ, both according to nature 
and above nature. According to nature, because He al- 
lowed His flesh to suffer what was proper to it; above 
nature, because in the Lord the physical states did not out- 
run His will. For in Him nothing compulsory is seen, but 
all is voluntary. Voluntarily he hungered, voluntarily He 
thirsted, voluntarily He feared, voluntarily He died." 3 
This, then, is the one sense in which voluntariness may be 

famem, cum esuriens ad ficulneam veniret; voluntariam et veram lassitudinem, 
cum fatigatus ab itinere super puteum sederet; voluntarium et verum vulnus, cum 
militis lancea percuteretur in latere; voluntariam et veram mortem, cum inclinato 
capite spiritum emisisset in cruce; voluntariam et veram sepalturam, cum eum de- 
positum de ligno Joseph et Nicodemus ponerent in sepulchro. Has enim carnis 
omnes infirmitates voluntarias quidem, sed veras Christus habuit, quia carnis hu- 
manae naturam, non in phantasia, sed in veritate suscepit. 

1 Quod unus sit Christus, p. 1352: 'AW fjv ov\ kzepooi zo duziSii tov 
Qavdzov xaza6siedbai xpdzoS, nXrjv on did ixovrjZ rrji kvavbpwitr)- 
6sg)S zov MovoyevovS- zavzyzoi niq)r]VE xaS' rjudi, xai i'Stov titoip- 
6olzo 6oojna to vito qfiopdv, xazd ye zovS kvovzai zp cpi)6ei Xoyovi, 
'iv kneiitep kdriv avzoS p Z,oor) (yeyivvrjzai yap ex ^oojji zov Ilazpoi) 
eucpvzevoy zo i'Siov dyabdv avzap, zovze'6zi zr)v ^aot'/v. 

2 De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iii. c. xx.: 'Aue'Xei zd cpv6ixa r/uoov Ttdbt] xazd 
<pv6iv, xai vitep cpv6iv r/6av kv zoo Xpi6zoo. Kazd q>v6iv /.lev yap 
exivelzo kv avzcp, oze napexcopei zy 6apxi naOelv zd i'Sia- vizip 
<pv<5iv Si, ozi ov rtpotjyeizo kv zoo Kvpiop r?}$ eeX}?6ea)S zd <pv6ixct- 



246 The Humiliation of Christ. 

predicated of Christ's infirmities. But we may attach an- 
other idea to the word. Reverting to the infirmity of 
weariness by the well, we may say that Jesus was volun- 
tarily weary, meaning that He brought on a feeling or state 
of weariness, which could not otherwise have been pro- 
duced, by a deliberate act of will, having some particular 
end in view, such as, that He might have an excuse for en- 
tering into conversation with the woman of Samaria, by 
asking her for a drink of water. A voluntariness of this 
sort another opponent of Adoptianism, Paulinus of Aquileia, 
seems to have believed in, when, with reference to our 
Lord's soul-trouble recorded in the twelfth chapter of John's 
Gospel, he represented Christ as troubling Himself, so 
taking on Himself the affection of human infirmity, by a 
display of power which excluded the disgrace of real fear; 
the design of this act of self-troubling, and of the prayer 
which accompanied it, being to elicit a voice from heaven 
which might make an impression on the surrounding crowd. 1 
Now it is manifest that voluntariness, taken in this sense, 
is not compatible with a reign of law in Christ's body, or 
with the reality of His human nature. To represent Christ 
as making Himself hungry, or thirsty, or weary, or sorrow- 
ful, is to give His whole life on earth a doketic aspect, and 
to degrade it into a theatric spectacle got up for effect — 
for the sake of example, or of doctrine, or to beget faith in 
the mystery of the Incarnation, or for all these together; 
a view, indeed, which the author last named does not hesi- 
tate plainly to avow. 8 And the question with respect to 
Hilary is, in which of the two senses are we to understand 
him as ascribing to Christ the experience of real, indeed, 
yet always voluntary infirmity ? No one who considers 

ovdiv ydp rjvayxa6nivoY kit' avtov Oeaopeirai, dXXd ndvra kxov- 
61a. tyeXaov ydp l7tsivi/6e, bsXoov ediipr/Gs, OiXosr edsiXiade, BeXoov 
dni r )av£v. 

1 Paulini Opera, Contra Felicem Urgellitanum, lib. i. cap. xxix.: Proximus 
igitur passioni, suscipiens in se humanae infirmitatis affectum turbavit semetipsum 
potestatis utique insignibus, non timoris, ut haeretici garriunt, dedecore. 

2 Contra Felicem, lib. i. cap. xxix.: Orabat quasi verus homo pro hominibus, 
sed potestatis insigni, non necessitatis dehonestate. Omne enim quod incarnata 
Dei Patris sapientia virtusque mirabiliter in locutione, in actione, in situ, in motu, 
'.n sessione, et resurrectione, ac deambulatione egit, aut exemplum, aut doctrina, 
aut mysterium fuit, aut utrumque et hoc et haec, et illud. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 247 

the stress which He lays on the miraculous birth as giving 
to our Lord's humanity a peculiar physical constitution, 
can hesitate as to the answer. In the view of this Father, 
our Lord's infirmities, if real at all, which is more than 
doubtful, were necessarily miraculous: they were not pro- 
duced by reasons inherent in His human nature, but by His 
divine will. Whereas, on the true theory, the miracle 
would have lain in Christ's not feeling weary as He sat by 
the well, after His long journey under a hot sun; on Hilary's 
theory, the miracle was that Christ did feel weary, the sun 
and the journey being impotent to exhaust His frame, born 
of the Virgin, yet divine in origin. 

Against the charge of doketism, then, this distinguished 
Father of the Western Church cannot be successfully de- 
fended; and instead of indulging in desperate attempts at 
apologising for his errors, we shall be more profitably- 
occupied in endeavouring to discover how such a mani 
could be led to take up so false a position on so vital a sub- 
ject. The explanation is indeed not far to seek, being t<5 
be found in a law of controversy whose powerful influence 
is abundantly illustrated in the history of theological war- 
fare, — that, viz., according to which every controversialist 
tends to take up a position as far as possible removed 
from that of his opponent, not unfrequently abandoning to 
the enemy the open fields of common truth, and shutting 
himself up within the narrow citadel of orthodoxy. Hilary 
was the defender of the Nicene faith against its formidable 
foes, the Arians. Now one way by which the Arians 
assailed the divinity of Christ was, by pointing to His ex- 
perience of infirmity. That man Jesus, they argued, how- 
ever exalted, cannot be divine, for God is impassible; but 
behold, that man suffered fear, sorrow, and pain. To which 
Hilary replied in effect: " I grant that God is impassible — 
that fear, sorrow, and pain cannot touch Him. But what 
of that ? Neither did Christ suffer any of these things; the 
statements in the Gospels which seem to ascribe infirmity 
to Him can all be satisfactorily explained." And so he 
saved Christ's divinity at the expense of His humanity, and 
in giving us a God totus in suis, robbed us of a Brother 
totus in nostris. 



248 The Humiliation of Christ. 

The foregoing discussion of the eccentric views enter- 
tained by an ancient Church Father finds its chief use, and 
best apology, in being a help towards realizing the impor- 
tance of the commonplace category, " the sinless infirmi- 
ties," in connection with Christ's experience of temptation. 
For every one sees at a glance what a different complexion 
is given to that experience, if it still deserve the name, on 
the assumption that Hilary's theory is true. No real fear 
of death, giving rise to earnest desire to escape it, if 
possible, only an acted fear for our sakes, to teach us not 
to fear in a similar situation; no impassioned prayer, with 
strong crying and tears, for His own deliverance, but only 
a compliance with the rule of prayer, for an example to 
Christians placed in straits; no real intense mental struggle 
or agony, as of one obliged to choose between two dread 
alternatives, but only the appearance of one, assumed and 
exhibited for the benefit of spectators; no veritable exhaus- 
tion, calling for angelic succour, but only a permitting of 
Himself to be comforted on the part of a strong One, who 
had no need of celestial help, that martyrs and confessors 
might be nerved to endurance by the assurance of season- 
able aid; the bloody sweat, if real, no result of mortal weak- 
ness, but miraculously produced for the sake of such as 
should be called to suffer martyrdom, whether by con- 
secrating the earth, on which it dropped, to be their 
burying-place, or by inspiring them with the hope of a 
better resurrection. 1 On such a theory there is no life- 

1 The above may seem overdrawn, but it is in truth little more than a free par- 
aphrase of what Paulinus says in his work, Contra Felicem, lib. iii. c. v., in defence 
of the voluntariness (in the illegitimate sense) of Christ's passion. " Quod autem," 
he remarks, " tristatur, moeret, pavet, et taedet, et humanae apertius demonstratur 
Veritas carnis, et nostrae per id praestatur infirmitatis quantocius fortitude Non 
enim infirmari coacte potuit inviolabilis virtus, nisi in quantum praestabilius volun- 
taria potestate illi pro nobis placuit infirmari." Then in reference to prayer this 
•doctrine is applied thus: " Nam et orationis regulam tempore passionis ideo talker 
informare voluit ut membra sua . . . inter angustias positi, et in oratione strenui, 
et in Dei Voluntate per subjectionem Concordes, et fortes robore in agone certa- 
tninis permanerent." Concerning the celestial succour it is said: " Hinc est quod 
idem Redemptor noster, qui nullo modo alieno indigebat auxilio, in ipso, ut ita 
„oquar. traditionis momento factus in agonia dum prolixius oraret, angeios se pro 
•nostra consolatione permisit confortare, nulla prorsus exigente causa necessitatis, 
sed ut hoc exemplo," etc. etc. On the subject of the bloody sweat, Paulinus in 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 249 

experience of temptation, but only a dramatic spectacle, — a 
God wearing a mask, and playing the part of a tempted 
man. On the other hand, grant the reality of infirmity, 
and all the events pass from the region of fictitious repre- 
sentation into the region of genuine human experience; 
Christ becomes the tempted man, tempted in some respects 
at least as we are, tempted both positively and negatively, 
positively, by the attractions of that which is agreeable to 
sense, as when the tempter in the wilderness set before 
Him the pleasant way of a worldly Messiahship; negatively, 
by the repulsions of pain impending or in course of being 
endured, as when Peter thoughtlessly performed Satan's 
part, and said, " Save Thyself;" or when the near prospect 
of the passion awoke in His own soul the wish, " Would 
that this cup might pass ! " 

" Tempted in some respects at least," I have said. But 
the Scripture says, " tempted in all respects as we are, 
without sin." The question therefore arises: Does the 
category of sinless infirmities afford a basis for a catholic 
experience of temptation; and if not, is there some other 
condition of the possibility of temptation to be taken into 
account, which has hitherto been overlooked ? Now there 
have not been wanting men, at various periods in the 
Church's history, who have answered the former part of 
this question in the negative, and have deemed it necessary, 
in order to give fulness to Christ's experience as the 
tempted, to ascribe to Him not merely sinless physical or 
psychical infirmity, but participation in a morally vitiated 
human nature, without prejudice to His actual sinlessness. 
This view seems to have been first distinctly enunciated at 
the close of the eighth century by the Adoptianists, and 
particularly by Felix of Urgellis. It is not difficult to see 
how the advocates of the Adoptian theory of Christ's person 
might be led into such a line of thought. Their great 

dulges in vapid rhetoric to which I am unable to attach any distinct meaning. 
His words are: "Unde et pro sudoris rore de corpore unici ejusdemque nostri 
consolatoris guttas sanguinis, quod certum est humanae omnino non esse naturae 
sudare, non frustratorie ab evangelista refertur in terram usque distillasse: quatenus 
per terram, in quam defluxerat, terrena beatorum martyrum depromeret membra, 
et purpureae guttulae punicum distillantis rorem roseo Christi sanguine eadem 
sanctorum martyrum purpurata depingeret membra." 



2 5o The Humiliation of Christ. 

concern was to vindicate the reality and completeness of 
our Lord's humanity, which appeared to them to be over- 
looked or thrown into the background, in the prevalent form 
of Christological doctrine; an impression certainly not 
without foundation, if their orthodox opponents, Alcuin and 
Paulinus, may be taken as fair samples of contemporary 
opinion on such subjects. Felix and others like-minded 
said: Jesus Christ is a man, our Brother. As a man, He is 
the Son of God by adoption, even as we Christians are; and 
He is God by name (nuncupative), in virtue of His connec- 
tion with the second person of the Trinity, who in Him 
became incarnate. Having taken up this fundamental 
position, they of course laid hold of everything in the 
Scripture bearing on the homoiisia of Christ's humanity with 
ours as an argument in favour of their theory. They 
emphasized the facts that Christ was the subject of pre- 
destination and election, and the recipient of grace; they 
took in earnest all that is said of Christ employing the pres- 
ence of infirmity or sinless imperfection, His ignorance, 
His refusal of the title " good " in the absolute sense, His 
tears, His agony, His prayers, not merely for others, but 
bond fide for Himself. They did this; and they did more: 
after the fashion of controversialists, they exaggerated some 
Scripture statements and misinterpreted others, in their 
eagerness to fortify their position; and so with much that 
was true and that needed to be said, they mingled not a 
little that was false and fitted to create a wholesale prejudice 
against everything advanced by them in support of their 
cause. They held that Christ was not only a servant, but 
a servant by natural condition and necessity, born into a 
servile state of a servile mother; 1 that He was baptized 
because He needed baptism, and in His baptism underwent 
regeneration; 2 that by His birth He was partaker of the 

1 Servus conditionalis, ex ancilla natus. Vid. Alcuin, Adv. Felicem, lib. iii. c. 
lii., lib. iv. c. ix. Alcuin quotes Felix, asking: Quid potuit de ancilla nasci, nis 
servus? Vid. lib. vi. c. ii. 

2 Alcuin, Adv. Felicem, lib. ii. c. xvi. : Has geminas generationes: primam vide 
licet quae secundum carnem est; secundam vero spiritalem, quae per adoptionera 
fit; idem Redemptor noster secundum hominem complexus in semetipso contineti 
primam videlicet, quam suscepit ex Virgine nascendo: secundam vero quam initi- 
avit in lavacro a mortuis resurgendo. Felix draws a parallel between Christ and 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 25 1 

old man, 1 belonged to the mass of perdition, was subject to 
the law of sin, and therefore to the curse of sin — death. 
Joshua, clothed with filthy garments, having Satan at his 
right hand to resist him, and plucked by Jehovah as a brand 
from the burning, was Jesus sordid with the sinful flesh He 
had assumed, clad in the tattered and torn garments of the 
human race, until the shuttle of the cross wove for Him a 
tunic of innocence, wearing a body half-burned by the 
transgression of His first parents and by the flame of their 
crimes, which, however, He was able by His virtue to rescue 
from being utterly consumed in the fire of hell. 2 

Views similar to these have been propounded in the 
present century both in Germany and in England; in the 
former country by Gottfried Menken of Bremen, in the 
latter by the better known Edward Irving. Menken seems 
to have been influenced both by theological bias, and by a 
practical religious interest in the doctrine of our Lord's 
humanity. In a homily on the text: " Who by the eternal 
Spirit offered Himself without spot to God,"* wherein he 
states his views on the question at issue, he makes the 
prefatory observation that theologians had been so much 
occupied in defending Christ's divinity against assailants, 
that Christians had not sufficiently contemplated Him as 
the Son of Man; and hence the testimonies of the Scriptures 

Christians, and makes Him like them partake of two generations, one natural, the 
other spiritual begun in His baptism, completed in His resurrection. 

1 Alcuin, Adv. Elipandum, lib. i. c. xvi. Alcuin sums up the doctrine of Eli- 
pandus thus: Asserens Christum et veterem hominem esse, et nuncupativum Deum, 
et adoptivum filium, et secunda indiguisse regeneratione et alia plurima ecclesias- 
ticae doctrinae inconvenientia. 

2 Alcuin, Adv. Felicem, lib. vii. c. viii. : Et Jesus erat indutus vestimentis soi- 
tiidis, utique ex transgressione de carne peccati sordidus, quam induere dignatus 
est: unde et pannis involutus, et scissuras humani generis, dum in se ilia suscepit, 
tnspicitur; donee radio crucis, innocentiae tunica texeretur. Nonne inquit, hie titio 
extractus ab igne est ? Titio extractus ab igne semiustula^us, non percombustus 
esse ostenditur. Corpus enim illud humani generis, quod ex protoplastorum trans- 
gressione et criminum flamma fuerat adustum, hoc induit Dominus. et quasi titi- 
onem semiustufatum a gehennae incendio liberavit. Alcuin represents Felix as 
fathering this interpretation on Jerome; but he calls in question the accuracy ot 
the statement. 

3 Homilien iiber das netmte und zehnte Capitel des Brief es an die Hebraer nebsl 
tinem Anhang etlicher Homilien ubtr Stellen des zwtflften Capitels, Bremen 183 1. 
The homily referred to in the text is the sixth. 



252 The Humiliation of Christ. 

to the true and full humanity of the Son of God had not 
been duly considered, and were among the things least 
known and understood. By way of doing justice to 
the neglected doctrine, he maintains that Christ, when 
He came into the world, took not human nature as it came 
from the hand of God before the fall, before it became sin- 
ful and mortal in Adam through his disobedience. He 
took a mortal body, a body of flesh which might be called 
a body of sin: a body, at least, in which sin, suffering, and 
death were possible, and whose natural inevitable doom it 
was to die. Had He not assumed such a body, He would 
not have been a real member of the human race, a true 
Adamite. For sinfulness of nature and mortality belong, 
of necessity, to the essence of natural earthly humanity. A 
being free from the taint of original sin, and immortal, does 
not belong to that humanity, is no true full son of Adam 
and son of man; and of him can never be said that he was 
made in all things like his brethren the Adamites, the sin- 
ful mortal sons of Adam. 1 Therefore it is explicitly as- 
serted by this author, that Christ, the sinless One, in His 
humanity partook not merely of the mortality, but of the 
sinfulness of human nature. Those who are familiar with 
the concatenations of thought characteristic of this school, 
will know beforehand what sort of doctrine to expect from 
such a quarter, on the subject of Christ's redeeming work. 
Christ's vocation as Redeemer was to make the whole 
lump of fallen humanity holy, by sanctifying the portion 
thereof He had assumed into connection with Himself, 

1 Stindlichkeit und Sterblichkeit gehoren nothwendig zu dem Wesen der nattlr- 
lichen irdischen Menschheit, zu dem Eigenthttmlichen der Adamsfamilie. Ein 
Unstindlicher, und ein Unsterblicher gehort der nattirlichen irdischen Menschheit 
nicht an; ein Unstindlicher und Unsterblicher ist kein natlirlicher und wahrer 
Adamide, kein wahrhaftiger und volliger Adams- und Menschensohn. Von einem 
Unstindlichen und Unsterblichen kann auch nimmer mit Wahrheit gesagt vverden, 
er sei den Adamiden, den stindlichen und sterblichen Adamskindern als seinem 
Brtidern IN Allem gleich geworden, theilhaftig ihres Fleisches und Blules. — 
Ibid. p. 103. Unsundlichkeit in this extract evidently signifies freedom from cor- 
ruption of nature or original sin, which, according to Ullmann, Die Sundlosigkeit 
Jesu, p. 25, is the strict meaning of the word, as distinct from Sundlosigkeit, which 
signifies freedom from actual sins. Menken ascribes to Christ Sundlosigkeit, but 
not Unsimdlichkeit. He says, ibid. p. 105: Er hat die Stindlichkeit der mensch- 
jchen Natur, und das est noch keine wirklichke Stinde. 



Qirist the Subject of Temptation. 253 

which He did partly by living in His fallen flesh a perfectly 
holy life, partly by dying on the cross, as a sin-offering, 
offering up Himself without spot to God, and just on that 
account being a sin-offering; for His spotlessness meant 
that sin had been destroyed, and it was the peculiarity of 
the sin-offering, that in it the victim was totally consumed. 
Only by this theory, it is held, is justice done to Scripture 
statements, such as, " He hath made Him to be sin for 
us;" and, " God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, 
as a sin-offering, and destroyed sin in the flesh." Some- 
thing more is meant by such expressions than the shallow, 
pitiful idea that Christ died for men; an idea hardly worth 
the trouble of understanding it: unworthy of the long pre- 
paration which had been made for Christ's coming, dis- 
honouring to mankind, as if, forsooth, Jesus of Nazareth 
were the only one sufficiently inspired by the heroism of 
love to be willing to lay down His life for His brethren; 
not to say dishonouring to God, by placing the acceptable 
element of Christ's sacrifice in the mere fact of death. No, 
something far deeper, far more thorough, is signified by 
these Scripture oracles; even that Christ was made sin by 
taking sinful flesh; that He offered Himself without spot, 
by fighting a successful battle with sin; that He became 
the atoning sin-offering of the world, because in His own 
person He offered up and annihilated the sinfulness of 
human nature, made this nature in His person sinless, 
exhibited it in His person sinless, to God, angels, and 
devils, even as, when He re-entered heaven, He exhibited 
it immortal. 1 

These opinions, promulgated from a German pulpit some 
fifty years ago, so closely resemble those uttered about the 
same time in the ears of a London audience by an eloquent 

1 Er ist also zur Stlnde gemacht, da er den schmahlichen Leib des Fleisches 
anzog, da er die verachtetste aller Geistergestalten, die Gestalt des stindlichen 
Fleisches, annahm. Er hat sich selbst geopfert, da er durch fortgesetzte Ueber- 
windung und Aufopferung diese Gestalt in sich vernichtete. Er ist das versohn- 
ende Siindopfer der Welt geworden, da er in seiner Person die Sundlichkeit der 
Menschennatur aufopferte und vernichtete, diese Natur in seiner Person unstindlich 
machte, die sUndliche Menschennatur in seiner Person Gott und Engeln und Teu- 
feln unstindlich dastellte, wie er sie hernach, als er in die Himmel einging, aucb 
unsterblich dargestellet hat. — Ibid. p. 105. 



254 The Humiliation of Christ. 

but erratic Scotch preacher, that further exposition of the 
theory held in common by both is quite unnecessary. Irv- 
ing differs from Menken only by greater elaboration and 
fuller detail, by the rhetorical extravagance of many of his 
statements, and by the confident assertion of his orthodoxy, 
in utter ignorance of the historical affinities of his system, 
which the better informed German theologian knew to be a 
comparative, though, as he deemed, justifiable novelty. The 
British divine seems to have been influenced, not less than 
the Continental one, by theological bias. Besides intense and 
most praiseworthy zeal in behalf of the reality of our Lord's 
humanity, there was at work in Irving's mind, as his trea- 
tise on the Incarnation plainly shows, a feeling of deep dis- 
satisfaction with the current doctrine of atonement, which 
he bitterly and contemptuously nicknamed the " bargain 
and barter hypothesis." 1 Accordingly he too, like Men- 
ken, adopted, and with far more vehemence advocated, 
what may be called the theory of REDEMPTION BY SAM- 
PLE; 3 that is to say, that Christ took sinful human nature 
into connection with His own person; battled heroically 
through life with the temptations springing out of that 
"fragment of the perilous stuff" He had assumed, that 
flesh of His wherein " all infirmities, sin, and guilt of all 
flesh was gathered into one " — in which all " sins, infirmi- 
ties, and diseases" "nestled;" suffered death on the cross 
as the doom due to Him as in His human nature a " fall- 
en," though personally a sinless man; yea, suffered the 
extremity of that divine wrath to which sinful flesh and 
blood is obnoxious; and after death descended in His soul 
into hell, there to endure a most fearful conflict; and so 
having maintained His personal sinlessness, and endured 
to the uttermost the penalty due to His sinful human 
nature, accomplished the reconciliation or atonement of 

1 The Doctrine of the Incarnation Opened, vol. v. of Collected Writings, p. 146. 

5 This theory, or hints of it, can be found in the writings of the early Fathers; 
vid. Lecture ii. of this course. But the theory in the hands of the Fathers did 
not mean that Christ took a portion of sinful humanity and made it holy, and 
through it sanctified the whole lump; but only that He took a portion of humanity 
in a sinless state, and kept it sinless through a life of temptation, and presented it 
to His Father as the first-fruits of a renewed humanity. Vid. for a fuller exposition 
of this theory, next Lecture. 



Christ tne Subject of Temptation. 255 

God and man in His own person; what was done in one 
portion, in the sample, being "virtually accomplished in 
the whole." 

Addressing ourselves now to the question, what is the 
worth of this theory of our Lord's humanity, held by the 
Adoptianists in the eighth century, and revived by Menken 
and Irving in the nineteenth, one remark occurs at the out- 
set, viz., that the theory wears on its face as much the look 
of an extreme, as the very different one propounded by 
Hilary. Prima facie, one is disposed to pronounce, that if 
Hilary made too much of the miraculous conception, the 
present theory errs as far in the opposite direction, of mak- 
ing too little of it. One is at a loss to see why, under this 
theory, Jesus should not have descended from Adam by 
ordinary generation, as He could not have been made more 
of a partaker in the sinfulness of the human nature by that 
method of birth than He actually was: not to mention that 
even if the opposite were true, that ought not, in the the- 
ory, to be an objection to, but rather a recommendation of, 
the method of ordinary generation, inasmuch as the very 
raison d' etre of the theory is to make Christ in His human- 
ity in all things like His brethren. It is true, indeed, that 
Irving speaks of the manner of Christ's conception as hav- 
ing the effect of taking away original sin. 1 But this is sim- 
ply a quibble; for he explains his meaning by remarking 
that Christ was not a human person, never had personal 
subsistence as a mere man. Beyond a doubt, the theory 
requires that original sin should be ascribed to Christ; for 
original sin is a vice of fallen human nature; and the doc- 
trine that our Lord's human nature was fallen, means, if it 
means anything, that it was tainted with original sin. 
And in this taint not merely the body but the soul of Jesus 
must be held to have participated; for whatever theory may 
be held as to the origin of souls, whether the traducian or 
the creatian, it is certain that the soul, in becoming wedded 
to the body, shares its mortal state. That Irving was aware 
of what the consequence of his theory required at this point, 
is manifest from his using the following argument against the 
opinion that Christ's soul was pre-existent: " Moreover, 
1 Incarnation Opened, p. 159. 



2 56 The Humiliation of Christ. 

then, creation hath not fallen wholly, for this pre-existent 
soul hath never found a fall; and, being united with the 
body of Christ, is still the creature in the unfallen state; 
and so the better half of the man Christ is unfallen, and 
and the other half of Him is fallen. Strange conjunction, 
and heterogeneous mixture!" 1 So that the influence of 
the Holy Ghost did not avail to keep even the soul of Jesus 
untainted by the fall, not to speak of His body ! 

Another thing very forcibly strikes the mind of one who 
has perused the literature of this theory, viz., the rhetor- 
ical inexactitude, and absence of carefully discriminated 
thought, characteristic of its advocates.* This feature is 
particularly noticeable in Irving. For example, he asserts, 
over and over again, that Christ's flesh was mortal and 
corruptible, without ever asking or deliberately considering 
whether these terms might not bear more than one mean- 
ing, but habitually using them as an equivalent for " fallen." 
And yet he himself uses at least one of the two words in 
two distinct senses. In many places he employs the word 
" mortal " in accordance with the requirement of his theory, 
as meaning, doomed of necessity to endure death, the curse 
of sin. Yet in one place he speaks of death, in relation to 
Christ, as a thing " which He was capable of as being in 
the fallen state, though not obliged to it as perfectly 
holy." * Mortal, i. e., signifies capable of dying, and this 
is held to be a distinctive attribute of the fallen state ! 
Another example of inexact thinking may be found in the 
manner in which Irving slumps together sin, guilt, disease, 
infirmity. 4 Like Hilary, he makes no distinction between 
sinless infirmities and vitia; extremes meeting here, only 
to opposite intents, the ancient Father denying to Christ 
all share in infirmity to save Him from vitium, the modern 
orator ascribing to Him a share in the vice of our nature, 

1 Incarnation Opened, p. 121. 

2 Ullmann, Die Siindlosigkeit Jesu, p. 1 19, characterizes the advocates of this 
theory as meist schwtirmerische Leute (enthusiasts). He refers to several authors 
whose works I have not seen, viz., Dippel, Eschrich, Fend, and Peter Poiret. Oi 
Menken he does not speak, but the name of Irving is alluded to. 

3 Incarnation Opened, p. 188. 

* Ibid. pp. 174, 320: " All infirmity, sin, and guilt gathered into one." " A1J 
sins, infirmities, and diseases nestled in it." 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. i5j 

because He unquestionably partook of our infirmities. Yet 
another instance of rhetorical inaccuracy, where carefully 
discriminated thought was specially called for, is afforded 
in the loose way in which Irving handles the subject of 
temptation. He makes no attempt to ascertain the con- 
ditions under which, and the extent to which, temptation 
is possible to a holy being living a human life in this world 
in a sentient but sinless nature; but seems to assume that 
temptation can be a reality only when it proceeds, as it 
often does in us, from evil lusts originating in a vice of dis- 
position. Thus he says in one place: " I believe it to be 
necessary unto salvation that a man should believe that 
Christ's soul was so held in possession by the Holy Ghost, 
and so supported by the divine nature, as that it never 
assented unto an evil suggestion, and never originated an 
evil suggestion; while, upon the other hand, His flesh was 
of that mortal and corruptible kind which is liable to all 
forms of evil suggestion and temptation, through its par- 
ticipation in a fallen nature and a fallen world; and that 
thus, though at all points assailable through His flesh, He 
was in all respects holy; seeing wickedness consisteth not 
in being tempted, but in yielding to the temptation. This, 
I say, I consider to be an article of faith necessary to salva- 
tion; and the opposite of it, which holdeth that His flesh 
was unfallen, and not liable to all temptation by sin, nor 
conscious to it, I hold to be a virtual denial of His hu- 
manity." l The assumption here is, that unfallen flesh is 
not liable to temptation; yet such liability is held to be 
essential to the truth of humanity, whence it follows that 
Adam was either not a veritable man before the fall, or 
that, unfallen though he was, he was nevertheless liable to 
all temptation by sin. In another place our author trium- 
phantly asks: " Doth any one doubt that there was in the 
flesh of Christ a repugnancy to suffer, a liability to be 
tempted in all things as we are tempted, and which was 
only prevented from falling before temptation by the faith 
of His Father's promises, and by the upholding of the Holy 
Spirit ? Then I ask that man, What is Christ ? — a man ? 
No; for even unfallen manhood was disposed to fall into 

1 Incarnation Opetied, p. 126. 



2 58 The Humiliation of Christ. 

sin. A fallen man ? No; for fallen manhood doth nothing 
but sin. A creature ? No; for defectibility is the very 
thing which distinguished creature from Creator." l Here 
we observe the confusion, before noticed, of sinless infirmity 
with a morally vitiated condition, a repugnancy to suffer 
being cited as evidence that Christ's human nature was 
fallen; and the consequent neglect to inquire how far sin- 
less infirmity goes in accounting for "the liability to be 
tempted in all things as we are," which it is coolly assumed 
all opponents of the theory advocated must in consistency 
deny. 

From the foregoing remarks it is manifest that there are 
certain questions bearing on the relation of our Lord's hu- 
manity to the fall, which require much more careful hand- 
ling than they have received from the parties just adverted 
to, in order to an intelligent and sound decision of the im- 
portant issue which their speculations raised. These 
questions may be stated in this way. Assuming that the 
human nature of Christ was unfallen, untainted by the 
corruption which is commonly called original sin, how does 
it stand related to the things which we are accustomed to 
regard as the effects and penalty of sin, such as disease and 
death ? and further, on the same assumption, what limita- 
tions result, in Christ's experience of temptation ? — the 
topic in which we are at present specially interested. 

As to the former of these two questions, it is by no means 
an easy one to answer properly, as the history of its treat- 
ment shows. It formed one of the subjects of controversy 
between the different sects of the Monophysites in the sixth 
century; one party, the followers of Severus, Monophysite 
Bishop of Antioch, named Theodosians, and on account of 
their tenets nicknamed by their opponents PhtJiartolatrists, 
maintaining that Christ's body before the resurrection was 
mortal and corruptible; another party, the followers of 
Julian, Bishop of Halicarnassus, named Gajanites, and by 
their opponents nicknamed Apthartodoketists, maintaining, 
on the contrary, that Christ's body before, as after the 
resurrection, was in itself incorruptible and immortal, endur- 
ing hunger, pain, death, only by an act of will and by way 

1 Incarnation Opened^ p. 170. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 2 59 

of economy, all sufferings and wants being foreign to His 
human nature, as indeed they were to man before the fall. 
The Emperor Justinian espoused the cause of the latter 
party, and endeavoured to get their view recognised by the 
Church as orthodox; but in this he failed, and the disputed 
question was allowed to remain undecided, the feeling 
probably being, that there was something to be said for 
both sides. Coming down to our own times, we find that 
something is said on both sides, by different men at one in 
regard to our fundamental assumption, and even by the 
same men. Thus, for example, an orthodox German com- 
mentator on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Riehm, in reference 
to the statement that Christ took flesh and blood in the 
same manner as we possess it, remarks: " It would be quite 
contrary to the sense of the writer to say that Christ took 
human nature as it was before the fall, in its original power 
and completeness. The children are such as need to be 
sanctified, and their flesh and blood, in which Christ took 
part likewise, is the human corporeal nature as weakened 
through the curse of sin, receptive to all outward impres- 
sions tending to tempt or to cause pain, and liable to death." 1 
Yet this same writer, expounding the doctrine laid down in 
the fourth chapter of the Epistle, concerning Christ's ex- 
perience of temptation, with express reference to Menken's 
views, recognises in the qualifying clause, x<*pti duaprias, 
a double limit to that experience, and understands it as not 
only excluding a sinful issue in connection with all temp- 
tations whatsoever, but as exempting from a certain class 
of temptations, those, viz., whose source is tdia. tmbvjuia, 
there being in Christ no inborn sinful desire, no natural in- 
clination to sin; His human nature, on the contrary, being 
perfectly free from sinful bias and evil lust. 2 Another 
better known German theologian, Ebrard, on the other 
hand, teaches that the status humilis, assumed by Christ 
in becoming man, consisted in a return to the condition of 
Adam before the fall; and yet with this doctrine in full 
view, he also maintains that Christ assumed humanity as it 

1 Der Lehrbegriff des Hebrikrbriefes dargestellt, und mit verwandten I^ehrbe. 
griff en verglichen, 1 868; vid. p. 314. 

2 Ibid. p. 322. 



z6o The Humiliation of Christ. 

stood under the consequences of sin, that being, in his 
opinion, the very import of the phrase, in the Epistle to 
the Philippians, uop<p?}v SovXov Aa/ioaV. 1 Here we have not 
only two doctors agreed on the main point differing from 
each other, but one of them, in appearance at least, contra- 
dicting himself. 

This perplexing diversity, or seeming oscillation of opin- 
ion, is accounted for partly by the fact that the fallen and 
the unfallen states, physically considered, are not in all re- 
spects diverse, and partly by variation of the point of view 
from which the Incarnation and its design are regarded. 
As to the former, the state of Adam unfallen was one inter- 
mediate between inevitable subjection to death and abso- 
lute immunity from death. His body was mortal, in the 
sense in which every material organism must be mortal, 
that is not yet glorified or spiritualized, but dependent on 
outward nature, and standing in need of food, drink, sleep, 
and breath. Had he stood in his integrity, there is reason 
to believe that he would have passed from a corruptible to 
an incorruptible state, without tasting of death. On the 
other hand, when he fell, what had before been but a pos- 
sibility was converted into a doom: he was left to the oper- 
ation of natural laws which would not fail in due time to 
bring about decay and dissolution, if disease did not inter- 
vene to produce the result sooner. Mortal before, in the 
sense of possessing a body de facto capable of dying, and 
physically liable to the chance of death; he was mortal now, 
in the sense that he was, for his sin, deprived of the privi- 
lege of being raised above that capacity or liability, and 
doomed to remain on the level at which his trial found 
him, till the actual experience of death overtook him. 
The liability was common to the two states; the doom to 
remain under it, instead of rising above it, was a part of the 
penalty of transgression. Now the Son of God, in becom- 
ing man, certainly took what was common to both states. 
He took a body, mortal in the sense of being physically 
capable of and liable to death; a body which could be de- 

1 Christliche Dogmatik, ii. p. 220: compare ii. p. 34, where the uofxprj SovXov 
is defined as "die der unter den Folgen der Silnde stehenden Menschheit." Foi 
v .he reconciliation of these two propositions, see ii. pp. 215-224. 






Christ the Subject of Temptation. 261 

prived of vitality by hunger, thirst, exposure to cold, by a 
fall from a precipice or by the thrust of a spear, and which, 
however sound in constitution and all vital organs, was not 
proof against evil influences in its environment, such as 
those of an unwholesome atmosphere tainted and poisoned 
by disease, putrefaction, malaria. Emisit animam, ncn ami' 
sit, said one of the ancient Fathers; and a modern writer, 
quoting the remark, says of Christ, that " He could, by an 
exercise of divine power, die without doing and without 
knowing sin." 1 Such language would convey a false im- 
pression were it understood to mean, that it was necessary 
that Christ should put forth divine power in order to bring 
about miraculously a state of death, which, otherwise, the 
pain of the cross and the spear-wound had been impotent 
to produce. Christ did doubtless die freely, not by neces- 
sity; but His freedom showed itself in His allowing Him- 
self to fall into the hands of His enemies, and in permitting 
the physical causes of death to work their natural effect. 
It was not a miracle that the crucified and pierced One 
died; the miracle would have been had He lived in spite 
of nails and spear. Thus understood, mortality may pro- 
perly be reckoned as belonging to the truth of Christ's 
humanity, as it is by the Reformed theologian Sadeel, when 
he says, " The Word assumed human nature, mortal, pati- 
ble, and sin excepted, like us." a 

These observations prepare us for understanding the pe- 
culiar position taken up by Ebrard, in reference to the status 
humilis in which Christ placed Himself by becoming man. 
On the one hand, he holds that that state, inasmuch as it 
involved merely the possibility of death, was a return to 
the state of Adam before the fall. The unfallen state he 
describes as consisting in these particulars: Moral integrity, 
or the power of not sinning, the posse non peccare; do- 
minion over the creation; perfect physical health in a body 
not bearing the seeds of death in itself; yet a body for 
which, by reason of its constitution, death was a possi- 
bility convertible into a certainty in case of sin. The state 

1 Dods, On the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, pp. 99, 165. 
s De veritate humanae naturae Christi, distinctio vi. : Ergo verbum assumpsit 
humanam naturam mortalem, patibilem, et nobis, excepto peccato, consimilem. 



262 The Humiliation of Christ. 

assumed by Christ he holds to have been exactly similar to 
this, embracing moral integrity, that is, not the impossi- 
bility of sinning, but the power not to sin: dominion over 
the creation manifested in His miracles; a physical organ- 
ism free from the seeds of death, perfectly healthy, and so 
harmonizing with the morally healthy soul, yet capable of 
being injured by unwholesome natural influences, and of 
undergoing death by mechanical violence, not to say by 
disease in case of abnormal moral development. But, on 
the other hand, He holds that the status humilis, just be- 
cause it involved even the possibility of death, in reality 
was the state of human nature as under the consequences 
of sin. For had there been no fall, had man stood his 
moral trial, the physical condition suited to a state of pro- 
bation, that, viz., which involved the possibility of death, 
would have given place to a state involving absolute im- 
munity from death; and the Incarnation (for even in that 
case there would have been an Incarnation, according to 
our author) would have consisted in the assumption of hu- 
manity in a glorified form, a status humilis being wholly 
excluded. 1 

That this ingenious theory does go a certain length in 
the solution of a difficult problem cannot be denied; but it 
is open to question whether it goes far enough in the di- 
rection of placing our Lord's humanity under the physical 
consequences of the curse. Ebrard's judgment is liable to 
suspicion, because his eye is not single, his aim being to 
construct a theory of the Incarnation, which, while not 

1 Christliche Dogmatik, ii. p. 221. On the two senses in which the term "mor- 
tal " may be used, see p. 222, note 2; and on the respects in which Christ's body 
was and was not liable to disease, see note 3. p. 223. Ebrard alludes to the med- 
ical distinction between health dem Breitengrade nach, and health dem HOhen- 
grade nach, and says that one is healthy, in the former sense, who bears in himsell 
no disposition to disease; and in the latter sense, whose organs, whatever their 
disposition to disease may be, are de facto for the time in a healthy working con- 
dition. Of one healthy in the former sense, he remarks that it is possible for him 
to be unhealthy in the second sense (the inverse case being equally true). Though 
perfectly sound in constitution, he may be injured in his vitals by cold, wound- 
ing, or poison, or even in the course of physical development. The former sort 
of health he ascribes to Christ, that is, perfect soundness of constitution, but stik 
not such as to exclude diseases arising from various causes, such as diseases of d& 
velopment in childhood. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation* 263 

losing sight of the reason assigned in Scripture for that 
event, the redemption of sinners, shall at the same time 
satisfy the requirements of a wider plan, that, viz., of pro- 
viding a crown for creation and a centre for humanity in a 
Pleromatic Man, endowed with all human gifts, and pos- 
sessing divine attributes in the form adapted to the hu- 
man mode of existence. 1 Is there any reason to believe 
that Jesus of Nazareth was the Pleromatic Man specula- 
tive theologians make Him out to be ? In physical re- 
spects, for example; having a body the perfect model of 
human form, absolutely sound in constitution, happily 
blending together all temperaments, 2 so that to the second 
Adam may be applied the language in which poetry has 
described the first: 

" In native worth and honour clad, 
With beauty, courage, strength adorned, 
Erect, with front serene, 
He stands a man, the Lord, and King of nature all.'* 

Do we not lose in reality what we gain in ideality by" 
this theory ? Is not the particular interest of fallen hu- 
manity somewhat sacrificed thereby to the supposed uni- 
versal interest of creation ? For what sorrow-laden men* 
need is not an Apollo, the aesthetically perfect embodi- 
ment of manly beauty, but a Christ in whom they can con- 
fidently recognise a veritable Brother; and for this purpose 
a body like a broken earthen vessel, and a vision marred 
more than any man, may be better qualifications than the 
most classic beauty of face and form that ever Greek sculp- 
tor hewed out of marble. The wisest man of Greece rep- 
resented Eros, son of Poros and Penia, as far from being 
tender, sleek, and beautiful as many supposed; but lean, 
ill-favoured, shoeless, and houseless, a poor penniless wan- 
derer sleeping on the bare ground in the street, or on the 
wayside. 8 The striking picture was an unconscious pro- 
phecy of incarnate Love, a remarkable divination of what 

1 See Appendix, Note D, Lecture iv. = See Appendix. Note A. 

3 Plato: 2TMII02ION H I1EPI EP£1T02 (Sokrates loquitur) are ovy 
TJopov xai Ilsviai vioS wv 6"EpGD%, ev zoiavry xvxv xaSe'dryxE- itpw- 
kov usv TtevrjS aei t6ri, xai noXXov 8 si dnakoS te xai xaXdi, olov o\ 



264 The Humiliation of Christ. 

it became such Love to be and look like, even a man of 
sorrow, in all things like unto His brethren, a participant 
in, that He might be a succourer to them under, all their 
infirmities. And even such was Jesus Christ. That He 
actually experienced disease is nowhere said; that He 
could not experience it we have no right to affirm. 1 The 
just view seems to be that expressed by Henry Alting, who 
ascribes to Christ the infirmities and defects, not of this or 
that individual, such as leprosy or blindness, but those of 
man's whole nature springing from the corruption of the 
same through sin. 2 

Passing now to the other question, viz., how far does the 
assumption that our Lord's human nature was entirely free 
from sinful bias limit His experience of temptation ? it must 
certainly be admitted, as Riehm has pointed out, that one 
source of temptation is thereby cut off, — that, viz., indicated 
by the expression vitb ziji idias inilvuias, occurring in the 
Epistle of James. Christ was not and could not be tempted, 
in the sense of being " drawn away of His own lust, and en- 
ticed." His temptations were x&pis duapvias, "without sin," 
not only in their result, but in their origin. But from this 
fact it cannot justly be inferred that Christ's experience of 
temptation must have been both narrow in range and slight 
in degree. For, in the first place, the same temptations 
may arise from various causes, and therefore the absence 
of a particular cause in any given case does not necessarily 
imply exemption from the temptation. Both the coward 
and the brave man may be tempted to shrink from the 
fight; the one, by effeminacy of spirit and an ignoble love 
of life; the other, by an involuntary sensitiveness of nature, 
or by a generous concern for his family. One man may be 
tempted by angry passion or by greed to take a neighbour's 

TtoXkoi oiovrai, dX\d 6xXr]poi, xai avx/itfpo?, xai avvnobriroZ, xxi 
.aoixoi' ^awazffsr?/? dei aov, xai a6rpooroS kiti QvpaiS, xai Iv 6601S 
z>7i art pioiS xoimgouevoS. 

1 See note, p. 262, for Ebrard's view on this point. 

' Loci communes, pars i. p. 145: Infirmitates et defectus, non hujus vel illius 
individui, ut lepra (Matt. viii. 2), caecitas (John ix. 1) sed totius naturae, ex ejus- 
dem per peccatum corruptione suscepti. As examples of infirmity. Alting mentions 
tristitia, dolor, timor, ira, in the mind; in the body, lassitudo ex itinere, sudor, 
lachrymae. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 265 

life; another man may be tempted by the very intensity of 
his love to slay his own son, believing it to be his duty in 
this way to show that he loves God more than any created 
good. To ascertain this very thing was the object of 
Abraham's temptation, if we may infer the design from the 
declared result, which is stated in these terms: " Now I 
know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld 
thy son, thine only son, from me." Without calling in 
question the reality of an objective command, it is not 
difficult to conceive that the command addressed itself to, 
and found a fulcrum in, an intense desire in Abraham's own 
heart to be himself satisfied on the same point. Of two 
possible careers, men may be tempted to choose that one 
which is not their true vocation, from very opposite motives. 
One man may be misled by vanity or ambition, eager to 
attain social distinction; another may be sorely tempted to 
forsake the better way, by a clear perception that the road 
along which gifts and conscience bid him travel will be 
rough, thorny, steep, and in all respects most repulsive to 
flesh and blood. So was Jesus tempted to choose the path 
of a worldly Messiahship. In His pure, holy soul the 
passions of vanity and pride had no place; but His tempta- 
tion in the wilderness was not on that account a mere sham- 
fight. Two ways were set before His mental view, — how, 
whether by objective Satanic suggestion, or by a vision in 
which God's thoughts and the world's concerning Messiah's 
career were placed in contrast side by side, it is immaterial 
to our present purpose to inquire; — but, in point of fact, 
the two ways were set before His mind, the way of popu- 
larity on the one hand, and the way of the cross on the 
other; and though the hosannas of the mob, and the insin- 
cere homage of the higher classes of society, might have 
small attractions for His lowly spirit, the wholesale deser- 
tion of spurious disciples, the incapacity of even genuine 
disciples to give Him the comfort of sympathetic com- 
panionship as He walked through the valley of the shadow 
of death, the hatred of sanctimonious religionists and of 
selfish unscrupulous politicians, the treason of a false friend, 
the infuriated crowd crying, " Away with him, away with 
him," the horrors of crucifixion, — these all passing as dark 



266 The Humiliation of Christ. 

possibilities in panoramic view before His eye, were surely 
enough to make those " forty days and forty nights Christ 
was fasting in the wild," days and nights of most real temp- 
tation, of soul-trouble and agony, whereof forgetfulness 
of physical wants was but the natural result, as it was the 
fitting accompaniment ! For we must now observe, in the 
second place, that not only may the same kind of tempta- 
tion proceed from morally opposite causes, but the tempta- 
tion which proceeds from a holy source may be in degree 
fiercer than that which has its origin in sinful lust. A 
familiar illustration will make this plain. Suppose the case 
of two men engaged in trade: one, a conscientious man, 
whose maxim is: "First righteous, then as prosperous as 
possible; " the other, a man not troubled with a passionate 
love of righteousness, vulgar in moral tone, and bent above 
all things on getting on in the world. Both are needy, 
and are also placed in circumstances which bring gain 
within their reach, provided they do not stick at a little 
fraud. Look now into the breasts of these men, and see 
what takes place there. The one says to himself, " I am 
embarrassed for want of money. I am not able to meet 
my obligations; my wife's anxious face, and my children's 
pinched features, make me wretched when I return home, 
and haunt me continually in the market-place. Here is an 
opportunity of obtaining relief from my difficulties by an 
act of dishonesty not seldom committed by men of good 
commercial standing. But, no; get thee behind me, Satan 
— away with the hateful thought ! I dare not lie, I will 
rather starve and beg than directly or circuitously tell an 
untruth." The other says: " Ha ! here at last is a chance 
for me. I have been miserably kept down hitherto. I shall 
get my head above water now; I see my way clear to 
making a very considerable profit by this transaction. No 
doubt I shall have to indulge in a little sharp practice. 
But what of that ? Everybody does it; it is but a common 
trick of trade, and quite respectable; and whether it is 
respectable or not, it is necessary, and I must do it." 
Which, now, of these two men has the keener experience 
of temptation ? Surely the virtuous, conscientious man. 
He passes through a kind of Gethsemane, an agony of 



Christ the Sttbjcct of Temptation. 267 

bloody sweat, a mortal struggle between love for wife and 
children and desire to escape the disgrace of insolvency on 
the one hand, and a moral revulsion from iniquity on the 
other. The other man has no agony — he has not virtue 
enough for that; there is nothing in him to stop the current 
of evil suggestion and make it rage. He is not so much 
a tempted one, as one who has been drawn away of his 
own lust and enticed. 

It thus appears that sinful dispositions, though certainly 
making men more liable to fall before temptation, do not 
increase the painful sense of being tempted, but rather 
diminish it. As a matter of psychological experience, it is 
the good man, not the bad, that is tempted. Temptation 
presupposes an attitude of antagonism to evil, and springs 
out of the difficulties encountered by all who make an earn- 
est attempt to maintain this attitude. It is in this way 
that temptation is regarded by the author of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, in connection with his doctrine concerning the 
sympathy of Christ with the tempted. The purpose he has 
in view is, to comfort Christians under the difficulties con- 
nected with the maintenance of their Christian profession, 
which were in effect so many temptations to apostasy; and 
the comfort he offers is: Jesus can sympathize with you, for 
He was in all respects tempted as you are, without sin. And 
trom what has been said, it appears that, notwithstanding 
the qualifying clause, Jesus was the companion of tempted 
Christians in these two respects at least: He shared with 
them the attitude of resistance to evil, and He maintained 
that attitude against real, immense, and manifold difficul- 
ties. His difficulties were not, indeed, in all respects the 
same as those of His followers. A Christian, for example, 
may have to do battle even unto blood with a lust or 
appetite, or old habit that wars against his soul. Christ 
had no such battle to fight. He endured the contradiction 
of sinners, not that of inclinations to sin. But does that 
fact cut the regenerated drunkard off from the sympathy 
of his Redeemer ? No; for in all essential respects his 
temptation was experienced by Him who knew no sin. The 
experience of the disciple consists in a conflict between the 
will of the spirit and the desire of the flesh; the experience 



268 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of the Lord was essentially the same when He said, 
" Let this cup pass," with the accidental, though most 
momentous difference, that the desire of His sentient 
nature was in itself innocent. The disciple, in obedience 
to the will of God, has to put away the cup his flesh 
craves; the Master, in obedience to the same will, had to 
drink the cup from which His flesh shrunk. And while 
the temptations of both are essentially the same, it is well 
for the disciple that the accident of sinfulness was not 
present in the desires of his Lord's human nature. For had 
it been otherwise, what had been gained ? Only com- 
panionship in moral weakness: an attribute which may 
qualify for receiving succour from the strong, but certainly 
not for being a succourer to the weak. 

The conclusion, then, to which the foregoing discussion 
leads us is, that we need have no hesitation in understand- 
ing the qualifying clause " without sin " as involving the ex- 
clusion from Christ's human nature of all sinful proclivity, 
lest, by so interpreting it, we imperil the reality or the 
thoroughness of His experience of temptation, and rob our- 
selves of the consolations arising out of His experimentally 
acquired sympathy with the tempted. 1 But now another 
question arises in connection with this same qualifying 
clause, of which some notice must be taken before the 
present subject can be regarded as discussed on all its 
sides. " Without sin," by universal consent, signifies, at 
least, " tempted, but never with sinful result." The ques- 
tion readily suggests itself: How was this invariably happy 
issue of all temptation secured or guaranteed ? It is a 
question much more easy to ask than to answer, for the 
mind of an inquirer is distracted by opposite interests, 
whose reconciliation is a hard speculative problem. On the 
one hand, there is a most legitimate jealousy of any method 
of guaranteeing a sinless issue which tends to undermine 
the reality of Christ's temptations; on the other, there is 
the not less strong feeling, that any other than a sinless 
result in His case cannot be seriously contemplated as a 
real possibility. Under the influence of the former motive, 

1 Vid. Appendix, Note B, for some remarks on the views of naturalistic theo- 
logians on the subject of " the Flesh." 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 269 

one is inclined to describe Christ's moral state by the 
phrase potnit non peccare, thereby ascribing to Him a power 
of choosing and doing the right, which, however, implies 
the opposite alternative as a possibility. But when we 
allow our minds to dwell on the dignity of Christ's person, 
and on the soteriological importance of His sinlessness, we 
are impelled to alter our mode of expression, and for the 
phrase, potait non peccare, to substitute the stronger one, 
non potuit peccare, and maintain an impossibility of sinning. 
Which of the two phrases is the more appropriate, or are 
they both neccessary to express the whole truth; and if so, 
how can they be reconciled, so that the one shall not virtu- 
ally cancel the other ? On these questions, as we might 
have expected, opinions differ widely; some preferring the 
weaker phrase, as the true description of Christ's moral 
condition during His life on earth; others insisting on the 
stronger, as alone doing justice to the moral perfection of 
the incarnate Son of God; while a third class see realized 
in Christ the unity of moral integrity and moral perfection, 
at once the power not to sin and that which made sin im- 
possible. Whether this third position can be speculatively 
justified or not, there can be no doubt, at all events, that 
the combination of the two formulas most accurately and 
satisfactorily represents the facts. The potuit non signifies 
that Christ's experience of temptation was real; that in His 
temptations He was conscious of a force tending to draw 
Him to evil. The non potuit, on the other hand, signifies 
that there was in Christ a counter force stronger than the 
force of temptation, which certainly, though not without 
effort, ensures in every case a sinless result. In this view 
of our Lord's experience of temptation, which makes it 
consist in a constant conflict of two unequal opposing forces, 
it becomes very important to provide that a due proportion 
between the conflicting powers shall be maintained. If the 
truth represented by the potuit non — viz., that the force of 
temptation was strong enough to create the consciousness 
of a struggle — be overlooked, then the whole curriculum of 
moral trial through which Jesus passed on earth degener- 
ates at once into a mere stage performance. This one- 
sided tendency characterized the ancient Church, and finds 



270 The Humiliation of Christ. 

apt expression in the saying of John Damascenus, already 
quoted, that Christ " repelled and dissipated the assaults of 
the enemy like smoke." 1 In modern times this doketic view 
finds no acceptance; theologians of all schools being agreed 
that the forces of evil, with which the Son of Man fought 
so noble a fight, were not shadows, but substantial and 
formidable foes. Even those who, with the Catholic Church 
of all ages, believe in the essential divinity of Christ, ener- 
getically protest against the divine element being brought 
in as an overwhelming force on the side of good, so as to 
make the force at work on the side of evil relatively zero. 
The divinity, while regarded as potentially infinite, is con- 
ceived of as, in its applied form, only a finite power barely 
sufficient to counterbalance another operating in Christ's 
person in an opposite direction. In the eloquent words of 
a Scottish theologian, the work of the divine nature is "not 
to raise Christ's suffering nature to such a height of glori- 
ous power as would render all trial slight and contemptible; 
but to confer upon it such strength as would be infallibly 
sufficient, but not more than sufficient, just to bear Him 
through the fearful strife that awaited Him, without His 
being broken or destroyed, — so that He might thoroughly 
experience, in all the faculties of His soul and body, the 
innumerable sensations of overpowering difficulty, and 
exhausting toil, and fainting weakness, and tormenting 
anguish, though by the Holy Ghost preserved from sin, — 
and might touch the very brink of danger, though not be 
swept away by it; and feel all the horror of the precipice, 
but without falling over." 3 

This passage may be accepted as a satisfactory statement 

' Lecture ii. p. 72. 

2 Sermon on the sympathy of Christ, by the late Professor M'Lagan, published 
.11 the work of Mr. Dods, On the Incarnation of the Eternal Word; see pp. 299, 
300 of that work. This admirable discourse contains some well -selected examples 
illustrative of the truth, that temptations arising out of sinless infirmities may be 
far fiercer than those which arise out of sinful appetites. The author compares 
the cravings of the intemperate palate for wine, with the natural thirst of the 
parched traveller in the desert; the pampered appetite of the epicure, with the 
ravenous hunger of the famishing man, whose fearful power is exhibited in the 
story of the siege of Samaria, when mothers bargained to slay in succession their 
own children 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 271 

of the view of Christ's temptations held in common by 
Christologists of the Reformed tendency, who have ever 
been anxious so to conceive of our Lord's person, as to 
leave to the forces to temptation ample room wherein to 
display themselves. And as a clear exposition of what is 
required, in order that Christ's experience of temptation 
may possess the maximum degree of reality or intensity, 
without prejudice to His sinlessness, this statement leaves 
nothing to be desired. It is manifest, however, that the 
sentences quoted contain rather the statement than the 
solution of a problem. The necessity for an adjustment of 
the conflicting powers, so that they shall bear some finite 
proportion to each other, is distinctly recognised; but how 
the adjustment is brought about, how the potentially in- 
finite force becomes finite in effect, is not explained. The 
question obviously carries us back to the already discussed 
problem of the kenosis. Moreover, even after that question 
has been disposed of, another comes up for consideration — 
viz., in what way is the divine force, become finite, made 
available as an aid to the successful resistance of tempta- 
tion ? The only hint at an answer to this question in the 
foregoing extract is contained in the words, " though by 
the Holy Ghost preserved from sin." The hint, brief though 
it be, condenses the substance of what the orthodox Re- 
formed Christology has said on the subject to which it 
refers. That Christology, as we know, lays great stress on 
the influence of the Holy Spirit as the source or cause of 
Christ's holiness, representing the human wisdom and virtue 
of our Lord as qualities produced in His human nature by 
the Logos through His own Spirit. 1 This view may be 
construed to mean that the divine power, as an aid to 
holiness against temptation to sin, acted not directly as a 
physical force, but as a moral force taking the form of 
ethical motive. Thus construed, the representation in 
question is one of great importance; for undoubtedly the 
victory of Christ over temptation, to have ethical value, 
must be ethically brought about. It must not be the 
matter-of-course result of the physical ground of His being, 
but the effect brought about by the operations of the Holy 
1 Vid. Lecture iii. p. 125. 



272 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Spirit dwelling in Him in plenary measure, helping Him to 
exercise strong faith and to cherish lively hope, and in- 
spiring Him with a love to His Father and to men, and 
with a consuming zeal for righteousness, which should be 
more than a match for all the temptations that might be 
directed against Him by Satan and an evil world, acting 
on and through a pure but tremulously sensitive human 
nature. So regarded, Christ's strife with sin is a fair fight, 
and His conquest a moral achievement, and the physical 
divine ground is simply the guarantee that gracious influ- 
ences shall be supplied to the adequate extent. Doubtless 
the mystery remains how the guarantee comes into play, so 
as to ensure the desired result, through the operation of 
such influences. But the burden of that mystery presses 
equally on all who, whatever their theory of Christ's per- 
son, agree in maintaining His sinlessness; and no advocate 
of any modern theory has succeeded in saying anything 
better fitted to remove the load, than what was wont to be 
said by the expounders of the old Reformed Christology. 
Schleiermacher ensures Christ's sinlessness by a doctrine 
of determinism which excludes moral freedom, and which 
is able to dispense with the miracle of the Virgin-birth by 
making Christ's whole sinless life a physical miracle. 1 
Rothe seeks his guarantee partly in the supernatural origin 
of Jesus, involving freedom from original sin; partly in His 
comparatively perfect upbringing in a circle which, through 
the Hebrew Scriptures, was in possession of the means of 
knowing fully the difference between good and evil, so that 
there was no risk of the holy child falling into sin through 
ignorance; partly in the moral energy acquired in the course 
of thirty years spent in virtuous retirement, which Jesus, in 
ripe manhood, brought to the hard task of His public 
career, 2 — all which, taken together, rendered sinlessness 
possible, or even, we may admit, probable, but not certain. 
The adherents of the modern kenotic theory have not been 
much more successful than these advocates of a purely 
humanitarian view of our Lord's person. One says, that 
Jesus would, in fact, maintain His innocence was foreseen, 

1 Der christliche Glanbe, Band ii. p. 67 (§ 97). 

2 Theologische Ethik, Band ii. pp. 28(1, 28 1. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 273 

ar>d therefore the risk involved in the Incarnation was run.' 
Another ascribes to Jesus a non posse peccare from the outset, 
as a distinction necessarily belonging to a theanthropic un- 
created personality, whose becoming in time was preceded 
by an ethical being, the benefit of which He reaped on 
entering into the incarnate state. 2 A third contents him- 
self with saying that the incarnate Son of God could not 
deny Himself; the man Jesus, therefore, could not sin, His 
human historical will could not enter into contradiction 
with the eternal divine will dwelling within it, and the 
eternal God became man just because this was the way to 
certain victory over sin.* A fourth, while admitting that a 
posse peccare was a possibility involved in freedom, repre- 
sents it as only an abstract possibility which could not in 
Christ's case be realized. 4 A fifth lays stress on the pre- 
dominant passion of Christ's will preventing the slightest 
trembling in the balance, while the free will of all other 
men is intrinsically indifferent; 5 which was certainly a 
characteristic of our Lord as a matter of fact; but the 
question forces itself on us, Whence this difference between 
Christ and all other men ? The fact is the very thing to be 
accounted for. Yet another, to mention just one more, 
teaches that the potuit non peccare and the non potuit peccare, 
so far from excluding, rather imply each other; that the 
sinlessness of Christ is accounted for, neither by His free 
ethical fight with temptation alone, nor by His holy 
natural development alone, but by the union of both; and 
that the guarantee that the possibility of evil should never 
become a reality lay, not in Christ's virtue or innocence, 
the relation of merely negative goodness to temptation 
being always doubtful, not in the divine nature viewed 
apart from the human, any more than in the human nature 
viewed apart from the divine, but in the indissoluble bond 
between the two natures; a bond which could be strained 
to the uttermost by the power of temptation, but which 

1 Gess. See Lecture iv. p. 150. 
! Liebner. See Appendix, Note B, Lecture iv. 
3 Hofmann. See Appendix, Note C, Lecture iv. 
* Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk, ii. p. 126. 

» Mr. Hutton, Essays, Theological and Literary, p. 261. See Appendix, Not* 
F, Lecture iv. 



274 Tk& Humiliation of CJirist. 

could never be broken asunder. Of all the utterances of 
the kenotic school this is the most satisfactory, and it 
emanates from one whose Christological theory comes 
nearest to the Reformed type. 1 

II. In the same book of the New Testament in which 
Christ is represented as passing through an experience of 
temptation, He is also spoken of as the subject of moral de- 
velopment. The tempted one is conceived of as in course 
of being perfected, and when the curriculum of temptation 
is ended He is regarded as perfect. The notion of perfect- 
ing, reAeimois, is applied to Christ four times in the Epistle 
to the Hebrews. It is first introduced in the second chapter, 
where the Captain of salvation is represented as being per- 
fected through sufferings; 2 it reappears in the fifth chapter, 
where it is said of the Son of God that, being made perfect, 
He became the Author of eternal salvation; 3 it occurs for 
the third time in the seventh chapter, where the Son, in 
the state of exaltation after His state of humiliation is 
past, is described as perfected for evermore; 4 and finally, 
it may be recognised in that place of the twelfth chapter 
where Jesus is called the leader and perfecter of faith; the 
idea being, that faith was one of the things in which Jesus 
Himself was perfected, and in which, therefore, He is a 
model to all Christians. 5 

That these two doctrines — viz. that Christ on earth was 
tempted, and that during the same period He was the sub- 

i Martensen, Die christliche Dogmatik, pp. 263, 264: Die MOglichkeit des BOsen 
regt sich auch in dem zweiten Adam; dass aber diese MOglichkeit niemals Wirk- 
lichkeit vvird, wie in dem ersten Adam, sondern nur als der dunkle Grund fttr die 
Offenbarung der Heiligkeit dienen muss, dafur biirgt nicht die Tugend oder die 
Unschuld, denn deren Verhaltniss zur Versuchung ist immer gar ungewiss und 
zweifelhaft, nicht die gOttliche Natur in ihrer Trennung von der menschlichen, 
auch nicht die menschliche Natur in ihrer Trennung von der gOttlichen, sondern 
das unaufloshche Band zwischen der gOttlichen und menschlichen Natur, ein Baud 
das zwar bis zum aussersten Gegensatz und zur Sussersten Spannung zwischen 
den Naturen gebogen und bewegt werden, niemals aber zerreissen kann (p. 264). 

2 Heb. ii. 10: Sid Tta r ii]udroov TEAeicSdai. 

3 Heb. v. 9: xai rsXeiGoOsis iyivtto xoiZ vita.Kovov6i\' avr<5 na6n 
%irio<i 6(*>zr/piaZ aiooviov. 

4 Heb. vii. 28: viov eiZ rov atcSva teteXeigou£vov. 

b Heb. xii. 2: rov rr/5 7ti6rscoi cipxvyov xai tsXsigottjv 'b/tfovv- 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 2j5 

ject of a perfecting process — should be taught by the same 
inspired writer, so far from being surprising, is rather a 
matter of course. For the two doctrines imply each other, 
and are complementary of each other. Wherever there is 
temptation, there is something to be learned, something that 
is actually learned; if not the habit of watchfulness against 
some moral infirmity whose presence has been revealed by 
temptation at least the virtues of patience and sympathy, 
and the need and use of faith and prayer. On the other 
hand, wherever there is room for a process of perfecting, 
there is room also for temptation. For as the perfect state 
is a state tempation-proof, so a state short of perfection is 
a state of liability to be tried and proved by temptation, and 
capable of being advanced, by this very trial and proof, to 
the higher perfect state in which temptation can have no 
place, because neither in the subject nor in His environment 
do the necessary conditions any longer exist. 

In these observations I proceed, it will be observed, on 
the assumption that the notion expressed by the term 
TeAeiaodis has an ethical import, as applied to Christ in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. This has been disputed, and the 
statements referred to have been explained to signify that 
Christ, by His earthly experience, was qualified for His 
office as High Priest; that on His ascension into glory He 
was, so to speak, consecrated or solemnly installed as a 
Priest whose sacerdotal office should last for ever, a Priest 
after the order of Melchizedek; and that at the same 
time He entered into a state of perfect personal felicity, 
exempt now and for ever from the infirmities and miseries 
of the days of His flesh. But the truth is, the term in 
question covers all these ideas, and that of moral develop- 
ment over and above. The perfecting process has refer- 
ence at once to Christ's office, to His condition, and to 
His character. These three aspects, far from being mu- 
tually exclusive or incompatible, rather imply each other. 
For example, suppose we understand the passage in 
the second chapter as signifying that, by suffering, the 
Captain of salvation was perfected, fully fitted for His 
office of Saviour, the question at once arises, In what does 
the outfit of a Captain of salvation consist ? What if that 



276 TIic Humiliation of Christ. 

outfit should be found to include very specially a bond of 
sympathy between Leader and led, based on a common 
experience of hardship, and inspiring in those who are to 
be conducted to glory unbounded confidence in their Con- 
ductor ? Why, then, it would follow that an ethical in- 
gredient enters into the process of official perfecting. The 
Captain becomes perfectly fit for His office by this means, 
among others, that through comradeship in suffering He 
learns that intense sympathy with His followers which 
gains their hearts, and so gives Him unlimited moral power 
over them. Or, again, suppose we take perfected as signi- 
fying beatified — introduced into a state of perfect felicity. 
Whenever we begin to consider what such a state involves, 
we perceive that an ethical element enters into it. Part of 
Christ's felicity in the state of exaltation consists in His 
being delivered from those infirmities to which He was sub- 
ject in the state of humiliation, and by which He was ex- 
posed to powerful temptations. That is to say, Christ's 
entrance into heavenly bliss signifies this among other 
things, that He thereby passed from a state in which He 
could be tempted into a state in which He cannot be tempted, 
— a transition implying an ethical progress from the incom- 
plete to the perfect. 

It thus appears that, whether we start from the official 
or from the beatific point of view, we end at last in an 
ethical conception of the teAeigo6is predicated of Christ. 
And there can be no doubt that the writer of the Epistle, 
in which the deep thought expressed by that word is found, 
gives to the ethical side marked prominence. When he 
speaks of Christ as perfected for His office, he adduces the 
proof of His perfection thus: "In that He Himself hath 
suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour them that 
are tempted." 1 Nor is this faculty of help connected with 
personal experience of temptation in a merely casual way, 
as if it would have made little difference though the experi- 
ence had been dispensed with. On the contrary, a curri- 
culum of temptation is represented as indispensable, by 
way of training for office. "Wherefore in all things it be- 
hoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He 

' Heb. ii. iS. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 277 

might be a merciful and trustworthy High Priest in things 
pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the 
people." 1 In the second passage, in which the idea of 
perfectification occurs, it might be very fairly contended 
that the ethical side was the one directly and immediately 
presented to view, inasmuch as the thought is introduced 
in connection with the statement that Christ, though a Son, 
yet learned obedience by the things which He suffered. It 
seems a very legitimate inference, that "being made per- 
fect " means, perfected in the virtue of obedience. But 
granting that we ought rather to interpret the phrase as 
signifying perfected for office, still it is impossible to deny 
that in the writer's view the process of perfecting has an 
ethical aspect. Christ's obedience to His Father is re- 
garded as a quality which fits Him for receiving in turn the 
obedience of others, and for being the Author of eter- 
nal salvation to all them that do obey Him. And this 
obedience of His is spoken of as something learned; and, 
reading backwards, we find that the learning was by no 
means easy, but very irksome indeed, to flesh and blood. 
Thus we get the thought that, in order to perfect fitness 
for the office of Saviour as a Royal Priest, Jesus, in the 
days of His flesh, in the school-days of His earthly life, 
underwent a process of moral training whose end was to 
perfect Him in the virtue of obedience, and which was 
adapted to that end by the tremendous severity of the 
tasks prescribed, and the trials proposed. The official per- 
fecting thus embraces within it a process of moral perfect- 
ing, which leaves the subject thereof in a higher moral 
state at the end than it found Him at the beginning. And 
this idea of a moral growth is by no means slurred over by 
the writer; on the contrary, he employs all his powers of 
eloquence to give it the greatest possible breadth and 
vividness. Starting from the general principle that no 
right-minded man taketh to himself offices of honour and 
high responsibility, above all, such an office as that of the 
priesthood, but only in obedience to a divine call, 3 he ap- 

• Heb. ii. 17. 

s Heb. v. 4: xai ovx eavrcp ziS Xanfidvei ttjy tiut)Y. 



278 The Humiliation of Christ. 

plies it to the case of Christ by the remark: " So also Christ 
glorified not Himself to be made an high priest." 1 Then, 
to show how utterly remote such a thought was from the 
Saviour's mind, how utterly innocent He was of the spirit 
of self-glorification, in connection with the office to which 
He was called by the voice of God in Scripture, the writer 
goes on to describe the agony in Gethsemane endured by 
the Great Priest, just before He passed through the rent 
veil of His flesh, to make an offering for the sin of the 
world.' It is as if he had said: "Jesus took the honour of 
the priesthood on Himself? Ah, no ! there was no tempta- 
tion to that, in connection with an office in which the 
Priest had to be at the same time victim. Let the agony in 
the garden bear witness that Jesus was not in the mood to 
arrogate to Himself the sacerdotal dignity. That agony 
was an awfully earnest, utterly sincere, while perfectly sin- 
less, Nolo Pontifex Fieri on the part of One who real- 
ized the tremendous responsibilities of the post to which 
He was summoned, and who was unable for the moment 
to find any comfort in the thought of its honours and pro- 
spective joys." It almost seems as if the writer had it in 
mind to suggest a parallel between Christ passing through 
the struggle in the garden, and the high priest of Israel 
presenting an offering first for himself before officiating in 
behalf of the people, — a parallel to the extent that in both 
cases there was a confession of weakness. Such a parallel 
is suggested by the sacrificial expression " offered up," used 
in reference to Christ's prayers with strong crying and tears; 
and also by the statement that He was heard for His piety, 
which seems to hint that His offering was accepted, even 
as that of the high priest was wont to be. The high priest's 
sacrifice for himself was accepted because it was a sincere 
confession of sin; Christ's prayer for Himself was accepted 
because it was an unreserved confession of weakness, un- 
accompanied by sin, inasmuch as its last word was, " Not 
as I will, but as Thou wilt." The high priest was accepted 
for the piety of sincere penitence; Jesus was accepted for 

1 Heb. v. 5: ovrooi xai 6 XpiGroS ovx iavrov £86ca6e yevtfbifvat 
dpxitpea- 

2 Heb. v. 7. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 279 

the piety of filial submission, triumphing over the sinless, 
though extreme, weakness of sentient human nature. 1 

It thus appears that the writer of this Epistle, far from 
glossing over the contrast between the imperfect and the 
perfect states of Christ, rather makes it as glaring as pos- 
sible. His manifest design is, to represent our Lord's 
weakness as going to the utmost limits short of actual dis- 
obedience and sin. He has a double purpose in view, one be- 
ing to magnify the merit of an obedience loyally rendered 
under so trying circumstances — to show, in fact, that one 
who passed through such an experimentum cruets was indeed 
morally perfect. The other purpose is to make evident 
how thoroughly fitted Jesus is to sympathize with the weak, 
He Himself having been compassed about with so great 
infirmity. He portrays the agony in lurid colours, for the 
same reason that it is so carefully recorded in the Gospels, 
and, may we not add, for the same reason that Jesus Him- 
self allowed His inward trouble to appear so plainly in the 
presence of three witnesses, by whom it might be reported 
to all the world. Had He thought of Himself only, He 
might, like many a sufferer, have played the stoic. But He 
thought of the weak of all ages; therefore He hid not 
His own weakness, but gave it full vent in prayers and 
tears, and loud cries and prostrations, falling forward 
all His length on the ground, now praying in articulate 
language, now uttering inarticulate groans, anon subsiding 
into silent weeping; His soul resembling the sea in a storm, 
when the great billows rise up at a distance from the shore, 
roll on majestically nearer and nearer, then break on the 
sands with a mighty noise audible to men even in their 
slumbers. 

In the third place, where the notion now under discussion 
occurs in the Epistle, the ethical aspect is not less con- 
spicuous than in the two preceding. The Son, constituted 
a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, not by the Leviti- 

1 So Hofmann, Sckriftbeweis, ii. 399, to whom I am indebted for the thought 
in the text. Hofmann says: Jesu Flehen urn Abwendung des Todesleidens ist 
gleicher Massen wie des Hohepriesters Opfer fur sich selbst eine fromme Aeusserung 
der Schwachheit, nur mit dem Unterschiede, welcher zwischen der Schwachheit 
d. ; "-'.'.ndigen Hohepriesters und der des sundlosen Heilands besteht. 



2 So The Humiliation of Christ. 

cal law, but by the word of the oath, is described as 
" perfected for evermore," in contrast with the Old Testa- 
ment high priests, who are described as " men having 
infirmity." The infirmity alluded to is such as lays men 
open to temptations, through which they often fall into sin; 
such, therefore, as, in the case of the high priests, was 
indirectly the cause why they had to offer a sacrifice for 
themselves before offering one for the people. The perfect- 
ing of the Son, consequently, must be held to consist in 
deliverance from infirmity of the same kind; infirmity, that 
is, through which, in the days of His flesh, He became 
liable to temptation, and sin became a possibility, though 
nothing more than a bare possibility for Him. To be liable 
to temptation is regarded as a morally incomplete state, 
and the perfect state is conceived of as a state of exaltation 
above the region of temptation, where there is no infirmity 
to be used as a fulcrum by the tempter, and no tempter to 
take advantage of an opportunity. 

The reAeioodis of Christ, then, according to the representa- 
tion of it given in the Epistle to the Hebrews, includes a 
process of moral perfecting. This process does not exhaust 
the idea; for the perfection ascribed to Christ after His 
departure from the world is a comprehensive name for His 
state of exaltation in all its aspects, whether regarded as 
the state in which He exercises His Melchizedek priest- 
hood, or as that in which He is free from the miseries of this 
mortal life, and enjoys the felicity of the life unending; or 
as that in which He is for ever exempt from temptation, 
and raised above the position of one undergoing moral pro- 
bation. All that is here insisted on is, that this last item 
forms an essential and important part of the idea. The 
exalted Christ is regarded by the writer of the Epistle as 
one now morally perfected; the earthly state of humiliation 
is regarded as a school of virtue, in which Christ had to 
learn, and did thoroughly learn, certain moral lessons; the 
experience of temptation is viewed in the light of a curri- 
culum of ethical discipline, designed to make the tempted 
One master of certain high heroic arts, the arts to be mas- 
tered being those of Patience, Obedience, and Sympathy. 

The fact having been thus ascertained, that the notion of 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 281 

moral development as applied to Christ has a foundation in 
Scripture, it remains to advert briefly to two questions 
which have been much discussed in connection with the 
present topic. One of these questions naturally arises out 
of that view of our Lord's earthly experience according to 
which it was a training for His office as the Saviour. The 
question is this: When, then, did Christ enter on His 
priestly duties ? was it on earth when He suffered on the 
cross, or was it not till He had ascended into glory ? The 
question was first formally propounded and discussed by 
Faustus Socinus; but theological controversy may be said 
to have stumbled on its threshold as early as the days of 
Nestorius and Cyril. The Antiochian school, true to its 
ethical tendency, insisted strenuously on the reality of a 
moral growth in Christ, and regarded His experience of 
temptation as an ethical discipline, by which He was pre- 
pared for the office of the priesthood. Conceiving that 
office as an honour, they spoke of Christ as advancing 
gradually to the dignity of high priest. 1 Cyril, on the other 
hand, admitted neither the growth nor the conception of 
the priestly office as an honour. He affirmed that Christ 
grew in virtue as in wisdom — that is, only in the sense of 
graduated manifestation; and the notion of a gradual 
advance to the priesthood as an honour, he combated by 
asking his opponents the question, If the priestly office was 
an honour to which Christ advanced, what becomes of the 
kenosis ? 2 Thus, on the one side, the sacerdotal functions 
of Christ were referred to the category of exaltation, while 
on the other they were thought of as belonging to the state 
of humiliation. In justice, however, to the theologians of 
Antioch, it must be borne in mind that their position does 
not necessarily signify, that Christ's priesthood was wholly 

1 Cyril, Adv. Nestorium, lib. iii. cap. 3. Cyril quotes Nestorius speaking ot 
Christ as owroS 6 xard /uixpov eii dpxiEps'cj? TtpoxoipaS d^iooua {Op. 
vol. ix. p. 148). Vid. also Apologeticus pro XII. capitibus, Anath. x.; and 
Apol. contra Theodoretum, Anath. x. 

* Cyril, Adv. Nest. lib. iii. c. 4: Kexevooxe St/ ovv, xai TETcaiEivooxEV 
kavrdv HatieiS kv ueiodi- IlaSi ovv in npoExoipEv si? dci'co/ua ye- 
yovGJ? ispEvS (p. 152). Similarly in the other places referred to in preceding 
note. Ei 8e npoixo^E, xazd viva xExsvoorat rportov. Ei Ttpoexoipe, 
tcgoS xExivoozai, xoci kitrooxEv6Ev. 



2S2 The Humiliation of Clirist. 

relegated to a state of exaltation subsequent in time to the 
state of humiliation, and commencing after the latter was 
at an end. It might mean only that the office, which in 
one respect was a humiliation, was in another respect, and at 
the same time, an honour for which Jesus was gradually- 
prepared by His course of obedience. In that case it is 
quite conceivable, that at least some of the duties pertain- 
ing to the high and honourable office might be performed 
on earth, and so fall within what we are accustomed to call 
the state of humiliation. In point of fact, Nestorius and 
his brethren of the same school did regard Christ's death 
as a priestly sacrifice, while apparently regarding it also 
as the last step in the process by which Christ was pre- 
pared for His Melchizedek priesthood, and became abso- 
lutely a pontifex consummatus} In this double way of con- 
templating our Lord's passion — as on one side a humiliation, 
on another an exaltation; and again, as in one respect the 
final stage of a preparatory discipline, intended to qualify 
the sufferer for an eternal priesthood, and in another the 
offering of Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world — 
the Syrian theologians were much superior to Cyril, who 
deemed dignity and suffering incompatible notions, failed 
to see that it was an honour to Christ to be appointed to 
an office which permitted and required Him to taste death 
for every man, and was therefore virtually compelled to 
regard the priestly office solely as an indignity to which 
the Son of God was subjected in the state of exinanition. 
If the views of the Antioch school of Christologists were 
such as now represented, then the credit belongs to it of 
anticipating the true answer to the question raised in modern 
times by the founder of the Socinian sect. 2 For here, as 
in so many other cases, truth lies on both sides of the con- 
troversy. A candid and unbiassed examination of all the 
relative passages shows that two distinct, though not con- 
tradictory, ways of regarding the priesthood of Christ are 
to be found in the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Priest of 
the New Dispensation is the Antitype at once of Aaron and 

1 Cyril. Apol. contra Theodor. Anath. x.: o5 Ttd6t]i duocpriaZ vitdpxoov 
IXsvOspoS, dpxiepevS rj/iidSv, xai iepelov kyevero' avzoS iavrov vitefi 
tj/UGov tgo &saj Ttpo6evsyKoov (vol. ix. p. 437). 

2 See App;ndix, Note C. 



Christ the Subject of Te?7iptation. 283 

of Melchizedek. Regarded in the latter capacity, He is 
undoubtedly conceived of as entering upon His priesthood 
on His ascension into heaven, and this in entire harmony 
with the nature of the priesthood after the order of Mel- 
chizedek. For that order or species is the ideal of priest- 
hood realized, and as such possesses the attributes of eternity, 
perfect personal righteousness as the qualification for office, 
regal dignity, and a corresponding state of felicity. In this 
light the Melchizedek priesthood is regarded by the writer 
of our Epistle. Introduced first apologetically, as a wel- 
come means of showing that the Scriptures knew of an- 
other kind of priesthood besides the Levitical, and that 
therefore it was possible for Christ to be a priest though 
destitute of the /^-^/qualifications, the idea, if we may say 
so, grows on the writer's mind till the more ancient in- 
stitution, which on first view might appear a rude, irregular, 
and every way inferior species of priesthood, quite eclipses 
that which took its origin under the law, and, in accordance 
with the prophetic oracle in the 110th Psalm, becomes not 
only a High priesthood, but the highest possible priest- 
hood; the ideally perfect order, whose specific character- 
istics are carefully ascertained by laying stress on the min- 
utest particulars recorded concerning Melchizedek; nay, 
by emphasizing not only the utterances, but even the si- 
lences, of holy writ respecting that mysterious character. 
The name of that ancient priest means, king of righteous- 
ness; therefore perfect holiness must be one of the marks 
of the ideal species of priesthood. His place of abode was 
Salem, which means peace; therefore the appropriate seat 
of the ideal priest is the region of celestial bliss, where he 
is raised far above the sin and misery and strife which mo- 
lest the vale of Sodom and Gomorrah, here below. Mel- 
chizedek was a king as well as a priest, king of Salem while 
priest of the Most High God; therefore the ideal priest must 
be a priest sitting on a throne in regal dignity and glory. 
Finally, the history makes no mention of Melchizedek's 
parentage, birth, or death; therefore the ideal priesthood 
is one which, unlike the Levitical, has no dependence on 
descent, and which in its nature and its effects is eternal} 

1 Heb. vii. !-•*. 



:S4 The Humiliation of Christ. 

These being the notes of that species of priesthood whereof 
there can be but one sample, it is manifest that Christ, as 
the Melchizedek priest, properly enters on His office when 
He has gone successfully through His curriculum of temp- 
tation in the earthly school of virtue; 1 when He is raised 
higher than the heavens, thoroughly proved to be a holy, 
harmless, undefiled Man, separate in character from sin- 
ners; 2 when He takes His place as a king on the right hand 
of God, in the country of peace, the heavenly Salem; 8 when 
He has passed out of the time-world into the eternal, where 
there is no distinction between yesterday and to-day, and 
where priestly functions have absolute eternal validity. 4 

Such, accordingly, is the representation given in the 
Epistle of the priesthood of Christ, viewed as the Antitype 
of Melchizedek. But is quite otherwise when the point of 
view changes, from the primitive institution in ancient Salem, 
to the legal priesthood in Israel. Jesus as the Great High 
Priest exercises His office only in heaven: as the High 
Priest, as a Priest after the fashion of Aaron, He exercised 
His office on earth, and continued to exercise it when He 
ascended into heaven. As a Priest after the order of 
Aaron, He offered Himself a sacrifice on the cross, even as 
Aaron offered the victim on the altar on the great day of 
atonement; as a Priest after the same order, He presented 
Himself in His humanity before His Father in heaven, even 
as Aaron carried the blood of the slain victim within the 
veil, into the presence of Jehovah. Then and there the 
one species of priesthood became merged or transformed 
into the other higher, highest ideal species: the priesthood 

1 Heb. v. 10: IJpoday opsvbEiS vno vov Osov dpxiEpEvS Kara. xr)v 
TOCciv MeXxioeSek — as it were, saluted by that name on entering heaven. 

Heb. vii. 26: "OdioS, dnaxoi, djuiavzoS, KExoopi6aEvoi dnd zc3v 
dua(jTOoXav, uai vipr/Xozspoi zcov ovpavaHv yei'ousvoi. 

3 Heb. x. 12: OvzoS 8e, juiav vitsp dpiapziooy 7tpo6EVEyxai 0v6iav 
etS to ditjvEHSi, Im<xQi6£v ev S Ecia zov Qsov — sat down a king-priest, in 
contrast to the legal priests, who stand daily ministering and offering oftentimes 
the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. What a pathetic picture of 
the sacerdotal drudge labouring as in a treadmill at the bootless work of offering 
his tale of victims, — ever offering, never doing any real effectual service, — till death 
came to relieve the melancholy official, and make his place vacant for a successor ! 

4 Heb. vii. 16: "O5 ov Hard vojiov IvzoArjS 6apuivy]% ysyorEv , d\Xd 
■Mara 8wa/.iiv ZGor/S duocTaXiTov. 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 285 

exercised in humiliation, into the priesthood associated with 
regal dignity and glory: the priesthood whose functions 
were performed by one compassed with and unreservedly 
confessing infirmity, into the priesthood of one who, Himself 
abiding in the City of peace, yet hath an undying sympathy 
with the tempted and war-worn, and is ever ready to come 
to their succour with bread and wine; the priesthood whose 
one great achievement was the love-offering on Calvary, 
into the priesthood of an endless life, which gives to that 
historic work absolute perennial value. 1 

The other question naturally arising out of foregoing dis- 
cussions has reference to the reconcilability of the doctrine, 
that Christ underwent a process of perfecting, with His 
sinlessness, or, in, other words, to the possibility of a sin- 
less development. Prima facie, the two ideas of sinlessness 
and moral growth seem mutually incompatible, and one is 
disposed to assume it as axiomatically certain, that the 
imperfect or the incomplete has necessarily the nature of 
evil. As an axiom, accordingly, this position was advanced 
by Cyril against the Nestorian doctrine, that Jesus was 
gradually perfected for His office, as taught by hi*s Nestorian 
opponents. Can any one doubt, he triumphantly asked, 
that whatever comes short of the perfection of virtue is 
blameworthy, and therefore sinful ? ■ It was a position 
easy to take up, extremely plausible, and fitted to ensure 
for the party whose cause it supported an immediate con- 
troversial advantage. And yet even Cyril might have 
dogmatized less confidently on this point, had he asked 
himself the question, What would have been the moral 
history of a holy child of Adam in case there had been no 
fall ? — a case which he would not have refused to regard as 

1 Vid. on the history of this controversy, Riehm, Der Lehrbegriff des Hebraer- 
briefes, p. 466, where also will be found a good statement of the solution of the 
difficulty, in substantial agreement with that given above. Vid. also Hofmann, 
Schriftbeweis, vol. ii. 

2 Adv. Nestoriu?n, p. 153: ZZ&Js av r/ itohsv kvdota6sis TiS, oti ro r/yap- 
rrjxoi xov TsXsiooi e'xovroS nard dpsxrjv , vito nwuov edrai, xai ovx 
sis aitav Ts0av/ua6/u£vov, jitdXXov Ss zdxcc itov xai vito ypaq>rjv 
duapTia*. Also contra Theodoret. Anath. x. p. 444: Ei TsXslrai xatf dps- 
ri)v, t% drsXovi drjXovori, xai iv xpovaj ysyovs rs'XsioS' to Ss drsXsi 
aitav siS dpsvrjv, vno fxoouov ypaq>rjv to Si vito jugo/uov, v(p' d/.iap- 
xiav. HqdZ ow yiypanzai nspi avxov ori 'AjuapTiav ovx kitoiT]6s; 



286 The Humiliation of Christ. 

a possibility. Such a child would certainly have undergone 
a process of real growth in wisdom and goodness, keeping 
pace with his growth in physical stature. If so, then the 
sinlessness of His human nature was no reason why Jesus 
should not experience a similar process of growth. If the 
growth predicated of Him in the gospel history was, as 
Cyril strenuously maintained, not real but doketic, exhibi- 
tive merely, the reason lay not in the absence of sin, but in 
the presence of the divine nature — i.e. it was metaphysical, 
not ethical. Even if that reason were valid, its effect would 
not be to settle the question as to the possibility of a sinless 
moral development, but simply to make the case of Christ 
exceptional. The ethical problem would still remain, and 
might be discussed without reference to the peculiar case of 
incarnate Deity, in reference to the hypothetical case of an 
unfallen child of Adam, yea, even in reference to the real 
case of unfallen Adam himself. Adam before his fall was 
sinless; but was he perfect ? If he was, how did he fall so 
easily before what appears a slight temptation ? If a state 
so insecure was perfection, how shall we characterize that 
state of stable moral equilibrium, in which the subject is 
temptation-proof ? Manifestly, whether we be able specula- 
tively to justify it or not, we must at least recognise as 
real, the distinction between moral integrity and moral per- 
fection: the former expression denoting the initial state of 
a being free from sinful inclination and habits, but liable to 
temptation and to the possibility of falling; the latter signi- 
fying the final state of the same being after he has success- 
fully passed through his curriculum of temptation, and has 
become morally infallible. 

An aid to faith in, if not to a speculative comprehension of, 
this distinction, may be found in the analogy of physical 
nature. In the physical world, growth by stages is the law. 
There is first the blade, then the green ear, then the ripe 
corn in the ear, in the production of grain; first the blos- 
som, then the crude fruit, then the ripe fruit, in the produc- 
tion of the apple and other products of like kind. Christ 
Himself has taught us, in one of His parables, that the 
same law obtains in the spiritual world, the kingdom of 
God. There, too, both in the commonwealth at large and 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 287 

in individual citizens, there is " first the blade, then the ear» 
after that the full corn in the ear." 1 It is true, indeed, that 
this law of growth ordinarily applies to subjects whose 
development is abnormal, proceeding from a state of sin by 
a very chequered, wayward course, to a state of Christian 
sanctity. But the parallel drawn in the parable between 
the natural and the spiritual might of itself teach us, that 
the abnormality of the development is not the cause why 
the law of gradual growth obtains in the spiritual sphere. 
In nature, abnormality is not the cause of growth, but sim- 
ply an accident to which it is liable, owing to some vice in 
the seed or tree, or to the unkindliness of the seasons 
bringing about imperfect or retarded development. There 
is no reason to think that the fact is otherwise in the moral 
sphere. Growth there also is normal; the abnormal is 
stunted retarded growth, due partly to vice of nature, partly 
to the influence of an evil world, producing fruit inferior in 
its kind, or which never attains to ripeness. Even in un- 
fallen humanity there would have been first the blossom, 
then the green fruit, then the ripe fruit: the blossom being 
the state of integrity, the green fruit the period of proba- 
tion, and the ripe fruit the ultimate condition of perfection 
contemplated from the first, and at length arriving " in its 
season." 2 In the two stages preceding the last, man would 
have been imperfect, yet sinless. Imperfect, because what 
his Maker looked for, and what the law or ideal of his being 
demanded, — the end to which all preceding stages were 
means, — was the ripe fruit of a character perfected in 
wisdom and goodness, by adequate trials of patience; yet 
sinless, because God and the law of His being demanded 
not ripe fruit immediately , but only in its season. To be 
sinless, it is enough to be as you ought at each season — to 
be a perfect blade at the blossoming period, a perfect green 
ear at the earing period, and a perfect stalk of ripe grain 
at the season of harvest. It is not sin to come short of the 
requirements of the law as the ideal: sin consists in coming 
short of the requirements of the duty incumbent on me in 
given circumstances, and at any particular stage in my 

1 Matt. iv. 26-29. 
z Ps. i. 3- 



288 The Humiliation of Christ. 

development. 1 It is not sin in childhood, the blossoming 
time of human life, to think and speak as a child, and to be 
incapable of the wisdom and moral sense of manhood: it is 
enough to think and speak as a holy, innocent child. It is 
not sin in young-manhood, the time of the green ear, to be 
assailed by temptations to evil conduct, and to experience 
profound embarrassment in connection with the question, 
" What is truth ? " It is enough that the tempted and per- 
plexed youth choose aright his way of life, preferring the 
ways of holiness and of faith to the ways of pleasure and ot 
Pyrrhonism. 

How far the metaphysical consideration, that Christ was 
a divine person, is a valid reason for denying the applica- 
bility to Him of the category of moral development, need 
not here be discussed. The point now insisted on is, that 
no ethical objection to the application arises out of the fact 
that He was sinless. It was possible for the holy One to 
grow in grace, advancing gradually from the fair spring 
blossom of early boyhood to the ripe fruit of perfect man- 
hood. The wisdom of the boy of twelve years was such as 
could not be excelled at that time of life: yet it was but a 
boy's wisdom, and left ample room for expansion in all 
directions. The child who made the doctors wonder by 
His quick intelligence, and by His shrewd questions and 
answers, could not then have preached the Sermon on the 
Mount. The piety which found expression in the words, 
" Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business ? " 
was a presage of that devotion which in later years took 
for its motto, " My meat is to do the will of Him that sent 
me, and to finish His work;" yet the former was but a 
blossom of instinctive, half-conscious filial love, while the 
latter was that blossom slowly ripened into a deliberate and 
passionate self-consecration to a divinely-appointed task, 
whose requirements were fully understood. Nor was Christ's 
moral growth completed when He had reached mature 
manhood. There was room for further progress, even after 

1 See Milller, Christian Doctrine of Sin, vol. i. pp. 58-69, where the problem 
of 1 sinless development is solved by the distinction between law and duty, the 
latter being denned as " the determinate moral requirement made upon a given 
individual at a given moment of time." 



Christ the Subject of Temptation. 289 

He left the home of His childhood, and went forth to enter 
upon His public ministry. His baptism in the Jordan 
formed a crisis not merely in His outward life, but in His 
inward spiritual history. At that point He entered on a 
new phase of being, in which He was to learn, through con- 
tact with the world, moral lessons which could not be got 
by heart in the seclusion of private life. Then He went to 
school to become experimentally acquainted both with hu- 
man wickedness and with human misery, and to learn to suffer 
from the one and to sympathize with the other. The new 
discipline in wisdom and virtue being high and abstruse, 
the Disciple needed a heavenly baptism to make Him an 
apt scholar; and hence, according to the gospel record, the 
Spirit -of God descended upon Him, as a Spirit of truth, a 
Spirit of self-sacrifice, in the interest of righteousness, and 
above all, as a Spirit of gracious compassion towards suffer- 
ing humanity. We must beware, indeed, of exaggerating 
the amount of learning acquired by Jesus after His entrance 
on His public career, following the example of those nega- 
tive critics, according to whom the Son of Mary went forth 
from His retirement in Galilee with the vaguest possible no- 
tions of what He was going to do, or of the destiny 
awaiting Him — ignorant that He was the Messiah, ignorant 
that the world was bad enough to crucify one who should 
bear witness against its evil; conscious only of great powers 
stirring within Him, and unable any longer to bear the 
inactivity and dulness of life in Nazareth. Those who take 
this view have not sufficiently considered what self-knowl- 
edge and spiritual insight must have been reached, by such 
a one as even sceptical critics admit Jesus to have been, 
during the long period of privacy which the Gospels pass 
over in reverential silence. In an important sense, we may 
regard the life of unbroken stillness between twelve and 
thirty as the time of the green fruit, between the blossom 
and the ripe fruit; and the whole period of the public 
ministry, on the other hand, as the season of harvest, in 
which Christ appeared before the world mature in all 
essential respects — in the knowledge of Himself and of men, 
in purpose as the Founder of the divine kingdom, in plans 
<br the execution of His purpose, in zeal for righteousness. 



290 The Humiliation of Christ. 

i 1 pity for the sinful and the miserable, in perception of 
moral and spiritual truth. Sermons on the Mount, philam 
thropic deeds, withering exposures of false religious pro- 
fession, apologies for receiving sinners full of poetry and 
pathos, the doctrine of the cross as the means of the world's 
redemption, and as the stern law of life for Master and 
disciple, — such was the rich and varied fruitage of the brief 
harvest season for which the preceding lengthened period 
of silent thought and hidden communion with the Father 
in heaven was the preparation. By the time Christ entered 
on His public career His education was complete, so far as 
theoretic knowledge was concerned. But it is one thing to 
know by contemplation ; it is quite another to know by experi- 
ence. Fully equipped for His ministry of righteousness and 
love at the outset, Jesus yet learned Himself while He taught 
others; learned decision by temptation, zeal by the contra- 
diction of sinners, sympathy by contact with the miserable, 
obedience by suffering. 



LECTURE VII. 

THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST IN ITS OFFICIAL ASPECT. 

It remains now to consider the humiliation of Christ on its 
soteriological or official side. 

The apostle represents the Son of God, in His Incar- 
nation, as taking upon Him the form of a servant. Our 
Lord, on a memorable occasion, said of Himself, " I am 
among you as the serving man." x These representations 
cover the whole state of humiliation. The assumption of 
servant-form is practically synonymous with becoming 
man; and the word spoken by Jesus to His disciples at the 
supper table might be taken as the motto of His whole life 
on earth. From first to last He was among men as He 
that serveth. Whose servant was He ? God's or man's ? 
Both. 2 The Servant of the Lord is one of Messiah's titles 
in the prophetic Scriptures; and Jesus said of Himself, 
" The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to 
minister," the recipients of the service being those from 
whom He might have claimed ministry. Jesus on earth 
served His Father's will in filial loyalty, and man's need in 
lowly love. What was the service ? It has many names 
in Scripture. We might say that Christ's task was to found 
the kingdom of God, or we might prefer to say He came to 
save' sinners; or we might combine both in one view, 
following the example of a recent writer, who regards 

» Luke xxii. 27, gjS 6 StauovcSv. 

2 In the passage in Philippians, the Godward reference of Christ's service seems 
to be mainly in view. There is a contrast intended between the position of equality 
with God renounced, and the position of ^servant assumed: He who was God's 
equal btcame God's servant 



*92 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Christianity not as a circle with one centre, but rather as 
an ellipse with two foci, the idea of the kingdom being one, 
and the idea of redemption being the other. 1 For the pur- 
pose of a preliminary definition, it will suffice to adopt the 
poetic title given to the incarnate Son of God by the writer 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and to call Christ, with ref- 
erence to His work, " the Captain of salvation." 

As the Captain, Leader, Author of salvation, commissioned 
by the First Cause and Last End of all to conduct many 
sons to glory, our Lord Jesus Christ has a variety of duties 
or offices to perform. He is at once a Prophet, a Priest, 
and a King. The former two of these three offices come 
most prominently into view in His state of humiliation. 
When our object is to see how Christ humbled Himself as 
the servant of God and of men, we have to consider Him 
specially as the Apostle and the High Priest of our con- 
fession — that is, on the one hand, as One sent forth from 
God to speak His final, full, and perfect word to men; and, 
on the other, as One acting for men in things pertaining to 
God. In both these functions Christ acted on earth, under 
appointment of the great First Cause and Last End, and 
in connection with both He experienced humiliation. Not 
that the offices of prophethood and of priesthood in them- 
selves involve humiliation, for Christ exercises them both 
still, in His state of exaltation. Nor did the reason of the 
humiliation lie in this, that in the state of exinanition these 
offices were severed from the kingly function, by union with 
which they are now redeemed from indignity, and become a 
royal prophethood and a royal priesthood. Christ exer- 
cised both offices, even when on earth, as a King, as the 
Founder and Sovereign of the kingdom of God. To the 
question of Pilate, " Art thou a king then ? " the Prophet 
of Nazareth replied, " I am a King; to this end was I bom, 
that I should bear witness unto the truth; every one that 
is of the truth heareth my voice;" 2 and in His gracious in- 
vitation to the wear)-, the meek and lowly One asked them 
not only to learn of Him, but to take His yoke upon them. 
In like manner Christ, in sacrificing Himself as a Priest, 

1 Ritschl, Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und VersOhnung, voL 
iii. p. 6. - John xviii. 17. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 293 

acted as a King. It is true, indeed, that He spoke before- 
hand of this very act of self-sacrifice, as the crowning evi- 
dence that He came not to be ministered unto. But this 
was only half the truth. He did come to be ministered 
unto, and He exercised His ministry of love as a means to 
that end. That was the way He took to get a kingdom, 
as opposed to the way by which the princes of the world 
attain sovereignty. He humbled Himself that He might 
be exalted. The greatest made Himself servant with an 
eye to lordship. Not in the offices themselves, then, nor 
in their severance from the regal office, did the cause of 
humiliation lie. It lay in this, that as the Apostle of our 
confession, come forth from God to reveal Him in the fulness 
of His grace and truth unto men, Jesus had to exercise His 
personal ministry among sinners; and that as the High 
Priest of our confession He had to exercise His earthly 
ministry before God, not only among sinners, but for sin- 
ners, His office requiring Him to act as their representa- 
tive, to be in all things like His constituents, and to offer, 
in their name and behalf, gifts and sacrifices for sins. In 
the state of exaltation, the offices in question have no hu- 
miliating accompaniments, because the prophetic office is 
exercised by deputy, and the priestly office consists in a 
sympathetic intercession which amounts to a perpetual 
presentation of the one offering, by which the Sanctifier 
perfected for ever them that are sanctified. It may be in- 
structive to follow out separately the two lines of thought 
just indicated, and to regard our Lord's humiliation, first, 
as incurred in connection with His prophetic office; and 
secondly, as incurred in connection with His priestly office. 
By pursuing this method, we may hope not only to obtain 
a somewhat full view of the indignities to which our blessed 
Lord was subjected, and which He freely underwent as the 
Captain of our salvation, but also to find legitimate oppor- 
tunities for noticing, in at least a cursory way, the various 
theoretic view-points from which the work of redemption 
has been regarded. The method now proposed, let it be 
further observed, will not involve the partition of the Sav- 
iour's ministry into two distinct portions, following each 
other in historical succession. It will rather mean, look- 



294 The Humiliation of Christ. 

mg at the same ministry under two different aspects, in- 
volving to a considerable extent the subsumption of the 
same facts under different categories, and the explanation 
of the same effects by different causes. 

I. First, then, let us consider Christ as the Apostle of 
our confession, that we may see what indignities He en- 
dured in that capacity 

Christ's duty as the Apostle was to be by word, deed, 
and character, the revealer, interpreter, or exegete of the 
Father from whose bosom He came. Into that duty the 
Captain of salvation threw Himself with ardour, as the gos- 
pel history amply proves, and as is specially testified by the 
fourth evangelist, when he writes, " The Word was made 
flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." The 
divine Apostle by whom God spoke His last word to men 
was faithful to Him that appointed Him; the Prophet like 
unto Moses, as combining the offices of prophecy and gov- 
ernment, said, eloquently and exhaustively, those things 
whereof all that Moses said was but a testimony. The law 
was faithfully given by Moses to Israel, as God gave it to 
him on the Mount; but grace and truth became, came into 
being through, were incarnated in, Jesus Christ. 1 Christ's 
fidelity, as the minister of grace and truth, was absolute. 
Of His zeal as the minister of truth we have a typical ex- 
ample in the cleansing of the temple, which recalled to the 
remembrance of the disciples the word: " The zeal of Thine 
house hath eaten me up; " 2 and of His devotion as the min- 
ister of grace we have a not less striking example, in the 
interview with the woman of Samaria, at the close of which 
He said to His disciples who bade Him eat: " My meat is 
to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work."* 
Through His fidelity, in both directions, Jesus brought upon 
Himself manifold humiliations. As the minister of grace, 

1 John i. 17. On the antithesis between l86 r JTj and kyevsro Godet remarks: 
Le regime legal etait divin par son origine; le regime nouveau l'est par son origine 
et par son essence. Cette superiorite intrinseque de 1'eVangile expliq'ue bien l'an- 
tithese de edo^?? et kyivtzo. En effet, si l'expression a eti donnie rappelait 
I'institution exterieure et positive de la loi, le terme sont venues de\signe avec force 
l'cffusion reelle et spontanee de la source divine elle-meme, jaillissant a flots sur la 
terre. — Commentaire sur L 1 Evangile de Saint Jean, i. p. 212. 

2 John ii. 17. 3 John iv. 34. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 295 

He made it His special business to preach the gospel to 
the poor, the outcast, the morally bad, the socially dis- 
reputable; and enthuasiasm in such evangelistic work 
brought the penalty of misunderstanding and reproach. 
Even well-affected persons, like the Baptist, stood in doubt 
concerning the validity of claims to be the Messiah, made 
by One who occupied Himself mainly in going about doing 
good; for John expected the Christ to come full, not of 
grace, but of the fury of the Lord, with axe or fan in hand; 
and when the event disappointed his expectation, he sent 
a doubting message of inquiry which put Jesus on His de- 
fence, and compelled Him to criticise His own forerunner 
that men might know what value to put on his present 
attitude, and might not be offended in Himself. 1 In the 
same love for the vile, the ill-affected found ample materials 
for scandalous misconstruction. They called Jesus, with a* 
sneer, " the friend of publicans and sinners;" they asked,. 
in a tone of sinister insinuation, " Why eateth He with; 
such ? " — they answered their own question by a reckless 
charge of gluttony and drunkenness. The nickname, the 
uncharitable query, the dishonourable imputation of the 
evil-minded, once more put the Apostle of divine mercy 
on His defence, and subjected Him to the humbling neces- 
sity of making an apology for this strange unheard-of love 
to the sinful; the apology itself being not less surprising 
than the conduct apologized for, expressing in a few choice 
sentences the quintessence of the gospel, and breathing in 
every word the spirit of One who was verily not ashamed 
to call the vilest of mankind His brethren. 2 It might have 
been expected that the miracles wrought by the divine 
Evangelist would have protected His character from assault, 
and saved Him the trouble of explaining His aims and 
motives. Instead of doing this, however, they only stimu- 
lated the wits of the unbelieving, to invent a theory which 
should deliver them from the necessity of accepting an 
unwelcome conclusion, and drove them on from the par- 
donable sin of speaking evil and uncharitable words against 
the Son of man, to the very brink of the unpardonable 
wickedness of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, by ascribing 

1 Matt. xi. 1— 1 1. 2 Matt. ix. 10-13; Luke vii. 36-50; Luke xv. 



296 The Humiliation of Christ. 

to Satanic agency, works wherein no ingenuous mind could 
fail to recognise the power of the Spirit of God. 1 

While ever intent on His ministry of grace, Jesus did not 
forget the other part of His commission, that, viz., of bear- 
ing witness unto the truth. The two duties were in fact 
interwoven, each with the other. In seeking the lost, and 
bringing nigh to them the grace of God, the Saviour was 
bearing witness in action to a very important truth, viz., 
that true holiness does not separate itself from the unholy, 
and that any holiness which takes the form of exclusiveness 
is a heartless, hypocritical counterfeit. It was this well- 
understood didactic meaning, embodied in His conduct, 
that was the real source of offence. The Pharisees, who 
were essentially men of the coterie in their religion, saw 
at a glance that, in the manner of life followed by Jesus, a 
new type of holiness totally diverse from their own was 
revealing itself, and their instincts of self-preservation and 
self-complacency forthwith took alarm. Hence arose in 
their minds, at a very early period, an intense dislike of 
the Prophet of Galilee. The men of that generation were 
indeed to be pitied. God in His bounty had sent them two 
prophets, neither of whom was at all to their taste; not 
John, because he separated himself in disgust from those 
who thanked God they were not as other men, and with 
blunt sincerity tore off the mask with which they hid their 
true character; not Jesus, because He was so genial and 
sunny, so full of the gladness of One who felt Himself 
anointed to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and, 
in the exuberance of His love, so utterly disregardful of 
the conventional barriers which separated the good from 
the bad, the holy from the profane. Though He had done 
no more than simply allow it to appear that He was full 
-of grace, such an one as Jesus would have borne a witness 
to the truth emphatic enough, to give, without fail, decided 
offence to men full only of spiritual pride and conceit. 

But Jesus did much more than this. While scrupulously 

• careful not to give unnecessary offence, He did not conceal 

God's righteousness, in fear lest prejudiced or evil-minded 

imen should take offence when none was intended. He \ised 

3 Matt. XII. 22-,2. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 297 

to the utmost the wide liberty of the prophet, and, as 
occasion offered, applied the plummet of truth to the whole 
life of His time: pronouncing current religious profession to 
be worthless and even pernicious, as amounting in effect to 
the making void of God's law by the traditions of men; 
solemnly declaring, in set discourse, that the righteous- 
ness of the Scribes was not a passport into the kingdom of 
heaven; and placing the qualifications of citizenship in at- 
tributes totally diverse from those exhibited in the Pharisaic 
character — in humility, godly sorrow, soul hunger for right- 
eousness still unattained, purity of heart, meekness, charity, 
and fidelity to God and duty, at all hazards. From such 
speech offences were sure to arise, and they did arise. He 
who, by His devotion as the minister of grace, had brought 
on Himself the " indignities of the world," in the form of 
nicknames, calumnies, irreverent, disrespectful criticism, 
which compelled Him to defend Himself at the bar of 
public opinion like any ordinary son of man, did also, by 
His fearless zeal as the minister of truth, provoke against 
Himself the bitter, determined "contradiction of sinners." 
Therefore He had to give His back to the smiters, and His 
cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, and His face to 
shame and spitting. 1 He heard the defaming of many, fear on 
every side; His speeches were reported by spies; His neigh- 
bours watched for His halting, saying, " Peradventure He 
will be enticed, and we shall prevail against Him, and we 
shall take our revenge on Him." 2 His death was the 
natural climax and crowning instance of the contradiction 
provoked by His inextinguishable zeal for righteousness. 
To such a length did the contradiction go; even to the in- 
fliction of the cross, with all its pain and shame. We need 
not hesitate, out of regard to the higher meanings of our 
Lord's death, to acknowledge this as an historical fact. 
Whatever more that death meant, it meant this at least: the 
witness for truth suffering for His fidelity in that capacity. 
He had borne witness for three short years; men could en- 
dure Him no longer, and that was the way they took to 
get rid of Him. He had told them what true righteousness 

' Isa. 1. 6. 
« ler. xx. 10. 



298 The Humiliation of Christ. 

was; He had opposed morality to ritualism, charity to 
pride, the fear of God to the traditions of men, the reality 
of spiritual worship to the shadows of ceremonialism, hu- 
mility to ostentation; He had proclaimed the advent of a 
divine kingdom based on these contrasts as its foundations; 
He had announced Himself as the King, not only God's 
servant, but God's Son, the Hope of those who waited for 
the consolation of Israel; and the cross was the world's 
reply. In this light our Lord Himself presented His ap- 
proaching death to His disciples, when first He began to 
speak to them unreservedly concerning it. What He said 
to them in effect was this: " I am destined to be a martyr 
to the truth; I must suffer for righteousness' sake. The 
elders, chief priests, and scribes hate me, and ere long they 
will kill me. I cannot escape this doom, except by unfaith- 
fulness — by resolving henceforth from prudential consid- 
erations to speak no more in God's name; which I cannot 
do, for His word is like a fire in my bones, and I can- 
not refrain." ' 

Such is a hasty sketch of the humiliation endured by 
Christ in connection with His prophetic office. Now some 
are content with this as a full account of the matter, and 
see no need for any other way of explaining our Lord's 
sufferings on earth, than to regard these as the natural 
inevitable results of the faithful discharge of His duty as 
the Apostle of our confession. To such Christ is the Cap- 
tain of salvation simply as the revealer of God, of His grace, 
of His truth, of the perfect ideal of human character, of the 
way of life that is God-pleasing; as the example of faith, 
patience, fidelity, fortitude; as the companion of those who 
imitate His example in the tribulations which inevitably 
come on all the good in this evil world; as their fellow- 
combatant in the warfare of life, their military comrade, so 
to speak; as the leader of faithful souls, and guide of all 
that travel to the sky, teaching them to despise and tri- 
umph over all the troubles of life, making them willing to 
bear a cross which has been borne before by their Master, 
and inspiring them with invincible courage by the sure and 
certain hope of everlasting life, begotten in their hearts by 

1 Matt. xvi. 21-28; Jer. xx. 9. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 299 

the well-authenticated fact of His own resurrection from 
the dead. On this view, the death of Christ is simply an 
incident in His career, a mortal yet not mortal wound 
received in battle; not the real ground of forgiveness or 
admission to heaven, but simply the antecedent to an event 
of still more importance, the resurrection, which moves 
men to live good lives, and so to commend themselves to 
a God who, as a matter of course, forgives all who repent 
and indulgently accepts an imperfectly yet substantially 
good life, as if it were perfect. Not that the sufferings of 
Christ are to be treated as of no moment. By no means: 
it was worthy of God to make His appointed Captain of 
salvation perfect through suffering. It was a signal proof 
both of His love and of His wisdom. Of His love, because 
in Christ, now exalted to heavenly glory, and having the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven in His hands, but once a 
suffering man like ourselves, He hath given us a Saviour 
who, having fully experienced all the evils to which we are 
liable, is able to sympathize with us and willing to succour 
us. Of His wisdom, because the curriculum of suffering 
through which He appointed the Saviour to pass was con- 
gruous to the vocation of the latter. It is fit that a cap- 
tain should have full experience of military hardships: no 
one can be a good captain on any other terms. How can 
He lead an army to victory and glory, who shirks the 
risks of battle and the privations of the campaign ? He 
who would be a Joshua to the Lord's host must lead the 
way in every peril. This, accordingly, our Joshua did. 
He drank of the brook by the way, thirsty and weary 
through the toil of the conflict. Therefore He is a good 
captain, well fitted to lead the Lord's host to glory. Having 
descended personally into the scene of strife, and become 
Himself a combatant, and stood in the very forefront of 
the battle, He draws us on to glory, honour, and immor- 
tality by the inspiration of His example. With a li'ght 
heart we endure hardships, and confront trials, which our 
heroic Leader has encountered before us. Looking unto 
Jesus, the author and the perfecter of faith, who for the joy 
that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the 
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of 



300 The Humiliation of Christ. 

God, we resist unto blood, striving against sin, and so gain 
admittance into the eternal kingdom. 1 

While readily acknowledging that important elements of 
truth are contained even in this scheme of thought, we can- 
not possibly regard as complete any theory of the Saviour's 
work which considers Him simply as the Apostle, and not 
also as the High Priest, of our confession. That the So- 
cinian theory, just sketched, as good as ignores Christ's 
priestly office, is manifest. It is true, indeed, that that 
theory does ascribe to the Saviour a priestly function in 
His state of exaltation. But what does that function 
amount to ? Simply to this, that the man Jesus, exalted 
to God's right hand, and constituted a semi-Deity, has a 
fellow-feeling for us, His brethren, which moves Him to 
use the power conferred upon Him for our advantage. We 
have in heaven an influential friend in the shape of a man, 
wearing our nature, who once passed through a curriculum 
of temptation and suffering similar to that appointed to 
other men; who therefore is always disposed to take our 
part and to succour our weakness, to view our conduct in- 
dulgently, and notwithstanding many defects, to admit us 
into His eternal kingdom. The priestly office is, in fact, 
substantially identical with the kingly office conferred by 
God on the man Jesus, that we erring sinful men might 
have, in Him, one qualified by His own experience to be a 
lenient judge and a sympathetic patron. That such a rep- 
resentation comes short of the scriptural view of Christ's 
priesthood hardly needs to be proved. To do justice to 

1 The above train of thought embodies the substance of the following passage 
from the De Servatote of Socinus: Neque enim parum refert, nos, qui Christo 
fidem habemus, et ejus praeceptis obedimus, scire, eum ipsum, qui vindicem et 
assertorum nostrum se constituit, potestatem habere eadjona omnia nobis largiendi 
quae sibi obedientibus ita constanter promisit. Praesertim cum earn viam ipse 
prior ingressus, quam nos tenere jussit, omnia mala expertus sit quae nobis, dum 
per earn gradimur, et ilium sequimur, aut eveniunt, aut certe evenire possunt; adeo 
ut tanquam nostri mali non ignarus misereri nostrum vere possit, et nobis miseris 
succurrere didicerit. . . . O admirabilem Dei bonitatem atque sapientiam ! Non 
satis illi fuit nos hostes suos, ac desertores, scelerum nostrorum gratuita venia, et 
vitae aeternae amplissimo promisso ad se iterum recipere, atque convertere; nisi 
etiam ipsius vitae aeternae nobis largiendae potestatem fratri nostro, et tantaa 
ealutis duci ac principi a se constituto, quern per afflictiones perfectum reddidit, 
plenissimam concederet. — Pars prima, cap. ri. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 301 

that aspect of His work as the Captain of salvation, we 
must consider Him as the High Priest of our confession, 
not merely in His state of exaltation, but also in His state 
of humiliation; not only in the vague sentimental sense of 
being our sympathetic Brother on high, who presents His 
earthly experience as a plea why He should be allowed to 
exercise a partial and indulgent sway over such as consent 
to be His subjects, but in the strict, definite, substantial 
sense of being our representative before God, and offering 
gifts and sacrifices for our sins. 

2. Proceeding then to consider Christ as the High Priest 
of our confession, that we may see what humiliation He 
had to endure in that capacity, I remark, that we place 
ourselves in the best position for understanding this part 
of our subject, by starting from the principle enunciated by 
the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews in these words: 
" Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are 
all of one." The Captain of salvation is here call the Sanc- 
tifier, with special if not exclusive reference to His priestly 
office. It is not necessary to deny that the title might 
legitimately enough be applied to Christ, as Grotius held 1 
it to be, in fact, applied here, with reference to His moral 
power over men through His teaching and example. Nor 
can we deny that, when the title is understood in that sense, 
the principle laid down contains an obvious and important 
truth. One who is to be a sanctifier in the ethical sense — 
that is, who is to make the unholy personally holy — must 
be one in some respects with those whom he is to sanctify.. 
The very separateness in character, between the parties,, 
makes it necessary that in some sense they should be one. 
There must be a point of contact somewhere, else the one 
cannot act on the other; and it is evident that the more 
points of contact the better. The liker the sanctifier is to 
those whom he is to sanctify, and who are morally his un- 
like, the greater his influence for good upon them. He who 
is in all possible respects like unto his brethren, will mani- 
festly have more power over them than one who is like them 
in only one or two points. The one acts like a mighty 
force brought to bear directly on an inert mass, so as to set 
it in motion; the other glides past, just grazing the mass 



302 The Humiliation of Christ. 

and leaving it where it was. Hence, in order to be a sane- 
tifier even in a moral sense, it behoved Jesus, the holy 
One, to be in all possible respects like His unholy brethren; 
for in this sense the sanctifying power of Jesus lies in His 
example, His character, His history as a man. He makes 
us holy by reproducing in His own life the lost ideal of hu- 
man character, and bringing that ideal to bear on our 
minds and hearts. But the ideal can be brought to bear 
with full effect only when it is realized amid circumstances 
as like as possible to those in which they are situated whom 
it is designed to influence. The Ideal must be an ideal 
man, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, the Son of man; 
He must be in His humanity mere man, stripped of all social 
advantages, down on the level of the common mass, and 
presenting there the ideal of excellence amid the meanest 
surroundings; He must be a tempted man, His virtue not a 
thing of course, but a real battle with sin, a triumph after 
a bloody struggle over all the forces of moral evil. 

While all this may be true, however, it is not the line of 
thought which the writer of the Epistle means to suggest, 
when he enunciates the principle, that the Sanctifier and 
the sanctified are all of one. He calls Christ the Sancti- 
fier, with reference to His office as the High Priest; and 
the work he ascribes to Him, is that of sanctifying the un- 
holy representatively, so that on account of what He does 
they are esteemed holy in God's sight. He explains his 
own meaning further on, when he speaks of Christians as 
sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ 
once for all, and calls the blood of Christ the blood of the 
covenant wherewith we are sanctified, and represents Jesus 
as suffering without the gate, that He might sanctify the 
people with His own blood. 1 In the immediately follow- 
ing context, indeed, he indicates with sufficient clearness 
the nature of the service rendered by the Sanctifier, by the 
significant expression, "to make reconciliation for (to ex- 
piate) the sins of the people." But here, it is worthy of 
notice, the author applies his principle not only to the work 
of the Sanctifier, but to His qualifications for the work. 
"Wherefore," he writes, "in all things it behoved Him to 

1 Heb, x. 10, 29, xiii. 12. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 303 

be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merci- 
ful and trustworthy High Priest in things pertaining to 
God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." 1 
He means to say, on the one hand, that the nature of the 
work to be done by the High Priest in itself involves a unity 
between Him and those for whom He acts; and on the 
other, that the closer the union between the High Priest 
and His constituents, the better fitted is He for His office. 

There are thus suggested two points of view from which 
we may regard the humiliation of Christ, in connection with 
His priestly office, — viz. either as a discipline by which He 
was qualified for office, or as suffering endured in the per- 
formance of priestly duty. The latter aspect is by far the 
most important; but before treating of it, it may be well to 
contemplate the subject for a moment under the former 
aspect. 

One who is to act for men in things pertaining to God — 
in so supremely important a matter as that of making atone- 
ment for sin — must possess the confidence of his constit- 
uents. If he is not trusted, it is in vain that he transacts. 
Hence the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews is careful 
to point out the qualities by which a high priest is enabled 
to gain the confidence of those he represents in holy things. 
The model high priest is photographed, in a single expres- 
sive phrase, as one able /nsvpionaQei'v* — to have compassion 
on the ignorant and erring, able to restrain the tendency 
to impatience and severity towards the morally weak. This 
faculty He is represented as acquiring through His own 
experience and consciousness of infirmity, which makes it 
necessary that, in offering for the people, He should at the 
same time offer for Himself. The purpose of the represen- 
tation is to explain to the Hebrew Christians the rationale 
of Christ's humiliations, of the temptations and the sinless 
infirmities He experienced in the days of His flesh. He 
says to them in effect: " View Christ as a High Priest, and 
you will at once perceive the congruity of His experience 
to His office, and cease to find in the former a stumbling- 
block. You know what sort of a man every well-qualified 
nigh priest is. Taken from among men, to act for them in 
1 Heb. ii. 17. s Heb. v. 2. 



304 The Humiliation of Christ. 

holy things, he feels himself oneof the people; accounts even 
the erring and the ignorant, for whom atonement has to 
be made, as his brethren; is patient and sympathetic 
towards them, and checks all tendencies to impatience by 
the habitual recollection of his own weakness, which his 
very priestly duties do not suffer him to forget. Such an 
High Priest it behoved Jesus to be as far as was possible, 
without sin. Therefore He was made in all things like His 
brethren: first of all, like them in possessing their humanity, 
for He could not be a High Priest for men unless He were 
taken from men; then, like them, further, in possessing the 
sinless infirmities of humanity, and in being through these 
subject to temptations, which made Him ofttimes feel and 
confess His weakness. Why stumble at all this ? why 
wonder that the Son of God should become man; that He 
should be a humble-born man, one of the people; that 
He should be a tempted man; that He should be conscious 
of weakness, and constrained to acknowledge it, as when 
He prayed, " If it be possible, let this cup pass from me " ? 
All this was needful for one destined to a priestly vocation; 
all this was but a discipline fitting the Captain of salvation 
for being a merciful and trusty High Priest, in whose fidelity 
all can put implicit confidence." 

It thus appears that we have scriptural sanction for treat- 
ing the sympathy of Christ as one point of view from which 
to contemplate His humiliation. It is legitimate to say 
that Christ's experience on earth was due, in part at least, 
to this, that it behoved one who had His work to do to 
undergo a training in sympathy, or to have a history which 
afforded opportunities for the manifestation of sympathy 
already existing. The High Priest of humanity must learn 
to sympathize; or if He do not need to learn, He must 
reveal His latent sympathy in action and suffering. In 
this way we may satisfactorily enough explain to ourselves 
some outstanding facts in our Saviour's life — as, for example, 
His preference for, and habitual use of, the designation 
Son of man, and His ministry of healing. Many an expla- 
nation of the name Jesus was wont to give Himself has 
been suggested; but it seems as good as any to say that 
He called Himself by preference the Son of man, to an- 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 305 

nounce to the world His consciousness of brotherhood with 
men, the humble, homely title rising to His lips as the 
spontaneous utterance of the human sympathy that filled 
His heart. 1 Then, if we ask ourselves why it was that 
Jesus, who came to save His people from their sins, spent 
so much of His time in healing the bodies of the sick, how 
natural the suggestion that the miracles of healing were 
partly the artless expression by kind deeds of unutterable 
compassion, and partly a method of action deliberately 
resolved on with intent to gain men's confidence for higher 
ends ! Is not the former part of the suggestion, at least, 
borne out by those words of the evangelist, in which the 
miraculous cures wrought by Jesus are represented as a 
fulfilment of the prophetic oracle: "Himself took our in- 
firmities, and bare our sicknesses " ? — the thought intended 
to be conveyed obviously being: He bore man's sicknesses 
on His mind by compassion, and so He healed them by 
His divine power. 

Thus far we may safely go in treating sympathy as one 
factor in the process whereby the Lord Jesus was made a 
man of sorrow, acquainted with grief. But some, not con- 
tent with the recognition of sympathy as one factor, make 
it all in all. The one fact, according to such, necessary to 
account for Christ's whole earthly experience is, that He 
loved the sinful and the miserable with a love sympathetic, 
burden-bearing, vicarious in character, as it is the nature 
of all true love to be. This sympathy of the Son of God 
with man is the cardinal unity which binds together Sanc- 
tifier and sanctified, — a unity fruitful of many others, and 
sufficiently accounting for all. Because the holy One was 
one with the unholy, in the first place, through a sym- 
pathetic love whose nature it is to identify itself in all 
respects with the object loved, therefore He was not only 
willing, but eager — nay, under a kind of necessity — to come 
into their lot. Sympathetic love brought Him down from 
heaven to earth; and given proximity of situation, fellow- 
ship in suffering followed as a matter of course. The holy 
One incarnate became, of course, in lot like the unholy, in 
all respects possible to a holy being. There is no mystery 
1 For the sense of this title, see Lect. v. p. 226. 



2,o 6 The Humiliation of Christ. 

in the matter: " Understand that love is itself an essentially 
vicarious principle, and the solution is no longer difficult." ' 
Who wonders that a mother suffers with and for her sick 
child ? or a patriot with and for his unhappy country ? 
Who wonders that Nehemiah, being a patriot, left the 
court of Persia and came to Jerusalem when its walls were 
lying in ruins ? and that, once at the scene of desolation 
and misery, he became partaker in the afflictions of the 
people, their fellow-labourer in rebuilding the ruined walls 
— watching when they watched, fighting when they fought, 
tempted by treacherous foes when they were tempted, pay- 
ing their debts and redeeming them from bondage, when 
they were burdened with debt and sold into slavery ? The 
explanation of the whole is, that Nehemiah loved his 
country with a love which was essentially vicarious, just 
because it was genuine. In like manner, why wonder that 
the Son of God visited this dark, sinful, wretched world by 
becoming man, and that, once arrived here, He experienced 
all the sinless infirmities of human nature, the privations 
and indignities of a mean outward condition, temptation, 
bad usage, the fear of death, and death itself, " even the 
death of the cross " ? The cardinal unity of sympathy ex- 
plains all these resultant unities of lot. And as for the 
cardinal unity itself, it needs no explanation. What need 
to explain the fact of the holy One loving the unholy with 
a sympathetic love, which makes Him and them as one ? 
Such love is the law of the moral universe — for God, for 
angels, for good men. The unity subsisting between 
Sanctifier and sanctified, therefore, depends not on any 
positive divine institution, or on any office to which the 
former is appointed. Christ's unity with the sinful is ante- 
cedent to, independent of, constitutions and offices, and is 
due simply to His being what He is — One whose inmost 
nature is holy love. For, to quote the words of the most 
eloquent modern expounder of the theory: " Such is love, 
that it must insert itself into the conditions, burden itself 
with the wants and woes and losses, and even wrongs, of 
others. It waits for no atoning office, or any other kind of 
office. It undertakes because it is love, not because a pro- 

1 Bushnell, The Vicarious Sacrifice, p. II. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 307 

ject is raised or an office appointed. It goes into suffering 
and labour and painful sympathy, because its own ever- 
lasting instinct runs that way. There can be no greater 
mistake, in this view, than to imagine that Christ has the 
matter of vicarious sacrifice wholly to Himself, because He 
suffers officially, or as having undertaken it for His office to 
supply so much suffering. He suffered simply what was in- 
cidental to His love, and the works to which love prompted, 
just as any missionary suffers what belongs to the work of 
love he is in." 1 

To one holding such views it would not be an effective 
reply to point out, that the sympathetic love ascribed to 
Christ does not of itself constitute priestly action in the 
strict sense of the word, but simply amounts to a personal 
qualification for the office; because the offices of Christ are 
ostentatiously held in light esteem, and in particular the 
priestly office is regarded as a mere figure of speech. The 
advocates of the theory which accounts for Christ's whole 
state of humiliation by sympathy, explain the prominence 
given to the priestly aspect of His work in the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, as an accommodation to Jewish modes of 
thinking adopted for apologetic purposes. The writer 
believed that he could commend Christianity to his readers, 
by presenting the object of faith to their view under a 
priestly aspect; and therefore he ran a parallel between 
Christ and the Aaronic high priests, straining the similitude 
to an extent justified by the paraenetic aim, but which it 
would be a stupid mistake in us to take too much in 
earnest. The argument is rhetoric rather than theology; 
and Christ is called a priest by poetic licence rather than in 
plain prose. In point of fact, He does nothing in the way 
of making atonement for men before God; His action is all 
manward, and its sole design and effect is to gain moral 
power over the sinful through the manifestation of divine 
love in self-sacrifice; so, as it is put by the author already 
quoted, " at the expense of great suffering, and even of 
death itself, to bring us out of our sins themselves, and so 
out of their penalties." s To one whose mind has slowly 

1 Bushnell, The Vicarious Sacrifice, pp. 67, 68 (English Edition, 1871). 
» The Vicarious Sacrifice, chap. i. p. 7. 



308 The Humiliation of Christ. 

passed through various phases of opinion on the present 
weighty subject, and who certainly has not been insensible 
to the fascinations of the sympathy-theory of redemption 
advocated by Bushnell, it may be permitted to remark, 
that such a summary and unceremonious method of hand- 
ling the important category of our Lord's priesthood, does 
not commend itself to a sober and reverent judgment. 
Unless we are to treat the Epistle to the Hebrews as a 
portion of Scripture possessing no permanent value to the 
Church, as a source of instruction in Christian truth, — as 
being, indeed, nothing more than an ingenious piece of 
reasoning, serving admirably the temporary purpose of carry- 
ing Hebrew Christians safely through a crisis in their spir- 
itual history, — we must regard Christ's priesthood as a 
great reality, as the reality, whereof the legal priesthood 
was but a rude shadow, not even an exact image. If so, 
then this Man must have something to offer to God for us; 
and His offering must possess all the properties needful to 
efficacy — must be the absolutely perfect, and therefore 
eternally valid sacrifice for sin, perfecting the worshipper 
as to conscience — that is, delivering him completely from 
the painful sense of guilt, making him in God's sight holy, 
and establishing between him and God a relation of peace 
and fellowship upon which sin exercises no disturbing in- 
fluence. And because Christ as a priest offers an ideally 
perfect sacrifice, valid for and having effect upon God in 
His relation to men, therefore His priesthood must be a 
matter of divine appointment. Were it a mere affair of 
gaining moral power over men by a career of self-sacrificing 
love, then nothing more would be needed to constitute 
sanctifier and sanctified one, than sympathetic feeling, and 
every one might take up the vocation of a saviour who had 
a mind. But if the sanctifier is to act not only on men 
but for men, and to prevail with God to certain intents and 
purposes, then sympathy alone will not suffice to form a 
nexus between him and the unholy. There must be a 
divine appointment to the priestly office. No man taketh 
this honour to himself but he that is called of God. Sym- 
pathy may be a very important qualification for office. It 
is so indeed. No one could do Christ's work who was merely 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 309 

an " official " performing all his duties in a perfunctory 
spirit; and this is a truth which, by way of antidote to the 
chilling effect of a scholastic method of discussing the 
Saviour's offices, may very properly and profitably be in- 
sisted on by such as have been led to feel strongly about 
it. The very antipodes of officialism did the Christ behove 
to be, even one possessed with a very passion for saving 
the sinful, and in the intensity of His love ready to descend 
to the lowest depths, to put His shoulder beneath the 
heaviest burdens, and to feel the keenest pangs in His 
vocation as Saviour, yea, feeling such pangs just because He 
loved. This was needful as a qualification for office, not 
only with a view to gain the confidence of men, but, as will 
appear, equally with a view to satisfy Him from whom the 
appointment to office emanated. Still it was nothing more 
than a qualification. It neither superseded the necessity 
of an appointment, nor did it amount to a full discharge of 
official duty. 

Passing, then, from the qualifications for the priestly office 
to the office itself, I remark that the principle of identity, 
in this connection, means, not that the sanctifier and the 
sanctified are, or are required to be, one in all circumstances 
conditioning moral power, or one in all particulars of lot as 
the result of spontaneous sympathy; but that the two parties 
are so one in God's sight and by His appointment, that what 
the Sanctifier does in His official capacity, He does repre- 
sentatively in the name of those He represents, and for 
their behoof, so that in Him, and in virtue of His transac- 
tions, they are in the divine view sanctified, holy. In such 
a relation the high priest of Israel stood to the people. On 
the great day of atonement he offered sacrifice, in the 
name and as the representative of the people; and the result 
of his representative action was, that Israel was cleansed 
from all sin, and was in God's sight holy. In the same re- 
lation Christ stands to the spiritual Israel. He is the 
representative of the people, and in Him God regards as 
sanctified those who are in themselves unholy. But this 
is not the whole truth. The High Priest of our confession 
is not only a Priest, but a victim. He put away sin by 
the sacrifice oi Himself . Hence, while as a Priest He is our 



310 TJie Humiliation of Christ. 

representative, as a sacrifice He is our substitute. For as, 
in the law, the sins of the people were laid on the head of 
the victim, and expiated by the shedding of its blood; so 
Christ bore our sins in His own body, and died on the 
cross, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us 
to God. 

It was chiefly in the capacity of a victim that Christ 
encountered humiliation, in the exercise of the office of a 
Priest. In itself the priestly office involved no humiliation; 
on the contrary, to be the sacerdotal representative of the- 
people was a great honour, so great that no man might 
take it unto himself, but he that was called of God, as was 
Aaron. It is true, indeed, that the nature of the office, as 
having to do with sin, and all its duties, as in one way or 
another calling sin to remembrance, required the sacer- 
dotal representative of the congregation to be a man hum- 
ling himself habitually before the Lord for the sins of his 
brethren, not to speak of his own. But while the priest who 
offered sacrifices for sin, and the victim sacrificed, remained 
distinct, the lowest depth of humiliation could not be 
reached. It was reserved for Him in whom the ideals of 
priesthood and of sacrifice were both united and perfectly 
realized, to prove by experience the humiliating power of 
sin in the superlative degree. As the sacrifice for sin, 
Christ endured the humiliation of becoming a sinner in 
legal standing, made sin for us that we might be made the 
righteousness of God; made like unto the unholy in respects 
in which it was barely possible for a holy Being to be assim- 
ilated to such, even in subjection to the curse, to the 
wrath of God, to death as the penalty of sin, that we might 
be delivered from these evils. 

This statement, however, is not homologated by all who 
agree in holding the principle, that the Sanctifier and those 
who are sanctified are one, in the sense that the former 
represents the latter before God. Many, while admitting 
Christ to be the representative of sinners, deny that He is 
their substitute. The denial implies, for one thing, that no 
independent substantive value is attached to Christ's death, 
it being regarded simply as the crowning act of obedience 
and devotion to the divine will. It further implies that 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 311 

the priestly action of Christ always includes Himself as an 
object. The Sanctifier sanctifies Himself as well as the 
community; sanctifies the community by sanctifying Him- 
self. This is the idea underlying that view of Christ's 
redeeming work, which has been more than once referred 
to in these lectures, as the theory of redemption by sample, 
but'which is more commonly known as the mystical theory, 
the title adopted by Schleiermacher to distinguish his own 
view of the doctrine from the orthodox, which he called 
the "magical," on the one hand, and from the Socinian, 
termed the " empirical," on the other. 1 Common to all 
forms of this so-called mystical theory is the position, that 
what Christ did for men He did also for Himself, and that 
He did it for us by doing it for Himself, acting as the Headl 
and representative of humanity before God. The High 
Priest of humanity sanctified Himself for the sake of hu- 
manity, and in so doing presented the whole lump hofy to 
the Lord. The point on which the advocates of this theory- 
are not agreed is the question, Wherein did Christ's self- 
sanctification consist ? The ancient Fathers, many of whomi 
held this theory, in addition to their grotesque fancy, that 
the death of Christ was a price paid to the devil, for the ran- 
som of men's souls from his dominion, sometimes identified 
the sanctification of humanity in Christ's person with the In- 
carnation. Thus Hilary: " For the sake of the human race 
the Son of God was born of the Virgin, and by the Holy 
Ghost, that being made man He might receive the nature 
of the flesh unto Himself, and that, by the admixture, the 
body of the whole human race might be sanctified in Him; 
so that as all were included in Him through His will to be 
corporeal, He might in turn enter into all through His in- 
visible part." 2 Stress was sometimes, however, laid on the 
holy life of Christ in human nature; as in a passage quoted 
from Cyril in a previous lecture, where Christ is spoken of 
as destroying sin in humanity, by living a human life free 

1 Dtr christliche Glaube, ii. 99-101. 

5 De Trinitate, 1. ii. c. 24: Humani generis causa Dei filius natus ex virgine 
est et Spirito sancto . . . ut homo factus ex virgine naturam in se carnis acciperet, 
perque hujus admixtionis societatem sanctificatum in eo universi generis humani 
corpus exsisteret : ut quemadmodum omnes in se per id quod corporeum se esse 
voluit conderentur, ita rursum in omnes ipse per id quod ejus est invisibile referrerur 



312 The Humiliation of Christ. 

from all sin, rendering the soul He assumed superior to 
sin, by dyeing it with the moral strength and unchange- 
ableness of His own divine nature. 1 In the theory of Men- 
ken and Irving, in principle the same with that taught by 
the Fathers, the Sanctifier makes the lump of humanity 
holy, by taking a portion of the corrupt mass tainted with 
the vice of original sin and subject to sinful bias, and by a 
desperate life-long struggle sanctifying it, subduing all 
temptations to sin arising out of its evil proclivities, and at 
last consuming the body of death as a sin-offering on the 
cross. In the patristic form of the theory the sample was 
of better quality than the lump; in the Menken-Irving 
theory the sample was, morally as well as metaphysically, 
just a fair sample of the lump, and was only made better 
by a painful process of self-mortification. In the hands of 
Maurice, the mystical theory assumes a kindred but some- 
what modified form. Christ, as the root and archetype of 
humanity, in His own person offers up man as an acceptable 
sacrifice to God, in the sense of exhibiting in His life and 
death the entire surrender of the whole spirit and body to 
God, and the complete renunciation of that self-will which 
is the cause of all men's crimes and of all their misery. 
Such self-sacrifice was what was really meant by all the 
legal sacrifices: for the victims died, not as substitutes for 
the offerer, but as symbols of his devotion. What these legal 
sacrifices but dimly foreshadowed, Christ perfectly realized. 
In His life and death He offered up the one complete sac- 
rifice ever offered, the perfect example of self-surrender and 
devotion to the divine will; and God accepted the sacri- 
fice, as made not by an individual, but by the race as rep- 
resented by its archetypal man. 2 

It is impossible within the compass of a single lecture, 
and indeed it is quite unnecessary, to follow out into fur- 
ther detail the exposition of this type of doctrine. It must 
suffice to say, that since the time of Schleiermacher, what 
he called the " mystical " theory in contradistinction to the 
" magical," but what, imitating his epigrammatic style, I 
prefer to call the theory of redemption by sample, as op- 

1 Vid. Lecture ii. p. 47. 

* Vid. The Doctrine of Sacrifice, and Theological Essays. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 313 

posed to redemption by substitute, has been much in favour 
among German theologians. 1 And by way of criticism of 
this in some respects most attractive theory, I offer only two 
observations. The first is, that advocates of the doctrine 
of substitution, and of the correlate doctrine of imputa- 
tion, are nowise concerned to meet with unqualified denial 
the underlying postulate of the theory — viz., that whatever 
Christ did for us He did for Himself, or that His priestly 
action was inclusive, not exclusive, of Himself. To a cer- 
tain extent this is quite true. The Sanctifier was holy for 
Himself as well as for us; and in so far as His death was 
necessary to the maintenance in unbroken continuity and 
closest intimacy, at all hazards, of His fellowship with His 
Father, we may even concede to Ritschl that He died for 
Himself as well as for us. 2 For the same reason I admit 
that Jesus prayed for Himself as well as for us; a fact which 
the author just named thinks has been entirely overlooked 
by the upholders of the orthodox theory. 3 Ritschl de- 
scribes the priestly activity of Christ for us as consisting in 
bringing us nigh to God; that idea, in his opinion, covering 
the whole design and effect of the ancient sacrifices. 4 
Christ's priestly action for Himself, on the other hand, con- 
sisted in maintaining His originally existing nighness to 
God, in presence of circumstances tending to produce sep- 
aration and alienation; His death was His last crowning 
effort for that purpose. On this view it was as necessary 
that Christ should die in His own interest, in His capacity 
as a Priest, as it was that He should die in His capacity as 
a Prophet. In the latter case, He died that He might be 
faithful to Him that appointed Him, in His vocation as an 
Apostle. In the former, He died that He might be faith- 
ful to us as our High Priest. Dying as a Prophet, He main- 
tained to the end His solidarity with God; dying as a Priest, 
He maintained to the end His solidarity with men. 5 All 
this I am ready to accept; but in doing so, I observe that 

1 On the recent German literature bearing on the subject, vid. Philippi, Kirck- 
liche Glaubenslehre, vol. iv. zweite Halfte, pp. 156-204. Also Ritschl, Die christ- 
liche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versbhnung dargestellt, vol. i. pp. 465-520. 

2 Die ckrist liche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und VersShnung, vol. iii. p. 414, 

3 Ibid iii. p. 412. * Ibid. ii. p. 210. » Ibid. iii. p. 490. 



314 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Christ did not die for Himself, or, to put it more generally, 
maintain His fellowship with God, even unto death, for 
Himself, in the same sense as for us. As a Priest, acting 
in His own interest, He simply ensured that He should 
continue what He was — holy. As a Priest, acting for us, 
He ensured, by His holiness in life and death, that we, the 
unholy, should be holy in God's sight — " accepted in the 
Beloved." What is this but to sanctify, or, to use the more 
correct expression in this connection, to justify the unholy 
by imputation ? It is true, indeed, that Ritschl rejects the 
doctrine of justification by imputation of Christ's righteous- 
ness, and in its place substitutes justification by imputation 
of fellowship with Christ, proposing as the appropriate for- 
mula the following: " God imputes to the members of 
the community of Christ, their fellowship with Christ, as 
the condition under which He admits them to fellowship 
with Himself." ' This formula certainly seems to convey 
the idea that, after all, it is not the perfect righteousness 
of the Sanctifier which forms the ground why God accepts 
as righteous the unholy, but rather the incipient righteous- 
ness of those who are justified, manifested in their volun- 
tary fellowship with Christ. But in that case what be- 
comes of the author's doctrine, that justification is a " syn- 
thetic judgment," that is, a gracious act of the divine will 
affirming of the subject that which is not contained in the 
idea of it; as thus, "The sinner is to God righteous; he is 
adopted by God; he is brought nigh to God " ? 2 This doc- 
trine, taken along with the above formula, would seem to 
imply that God justifies the sinner, pardoning his sin and 
accepting him as righteous in His sight, not for any incipi- 
ent goodness in himself, but for the righteousness of Christ, 
imputed to him and received by faith. But it must be 
confessed that this inference, however legitimate, does not 
seem to be accepted by Ritschl. In explaining, with a 
view to illustrate his doctrine of justification, those passages 

1 Die chrislliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigimg und VersOhnung, iii. p. 482: 
Gott den Gliedern der Gemeinde Christi ihre Gemeinschaft mit Christus als die 
Bedingung anrechnet, unter der er sie zur Gemeinschaft mit sich selbst zulasst. 

2 Ibid. iii. 466: Der Sunder ist Gott recht, er ist Gott angeeignet, er ist in di« 
fcahe Gottes versetzt. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 3 1 5 

of Scripture in which God is represented as forgiving sin, 
out of regard to the intercession or the righteousness of 
good men like Moses or David, he gives the matter this 
turn: "In the recognition of an intercession as a ground 
of forgiveness, no judgment contrary to truth is pronounced; 
but a resolution of confidence is formed out of regard to the 
probability that one who is deemed worthy of the fellow- 
ship of an honourable man, is worthy also to be received 
again into the fellowship of the party injured. In like 
manner is the righteousness of David represented as a 
motive of divine forgiveness; because the Israelites, in spite 
of their disobedience, have the honour to possess in David 
a representative whose fellowship with them awakens the 
conjecture that they are not incapacitated for obeying God." ' 
Far-fetched, forced explanations, indeed, indicating a very 
decided reluctance to recognise the goodness of one man, 
as the real ground of gracious judgments and actions, on 
God's part, towards others. 

These remarks lead us naturally to the second observation 
which I have to offer, by way of criticism, on the mystical 
theory of redemption. It is chargeable with the vice of 
ambiguity, inasmuch as it does not clearly indicate in what 
way Christ's action avails for us. Does the sample really 
sanctify the whole lump in God's sight ? or does it merely 
exhibit a result which has to be reached in every individual 
member of the race, which it somehow helps us to reach, 
and which, when realized, or foreseen as realized, is the 
ground of God's judgment in accepting us as holy ? The 
theory stated in general terms leaves these points inde- 
terminate; it is compatible with either alternative; and 
according as it inclines to the one side or the other, it goes 

1 Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung utid VersShmtng, iii. P. 58: In 
der Anerkennung einer Ftirbitte zum Zwecke der Verzeihung wird also kein wahr- 
heitswidriges Urtheil getallt, sondernein Entschluss des Vertrauens ausgetibt durch 
Vermittelung eines Urtheils der Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass derjenige, welcher von 
einem ehrenhaften Manne der Gemeinschaft gewtlrdigt wird, werth ist, auch von 
dem Beleidigten zur Gemeinschaft wieder angenommen zu werden. Demgemass 
wird auch die Gerechtigkeit Davids als Motiv der gOttlichen Verzeihung vorge- 
stellt, weil die Israeliten trotz ihres Ungehorsams die Ehre haben, an David einen 
Reprasentanten zu besitzen, dessen Gemeinschaft mit ihnen die Vermuthung ep 
weckt, dass sie zum Gehorsam gegen Gott befahigt sind. 



3 1 6 The Humiliation of Christ. 

over either to the side of orthodoxy or to the side of So* 
cinianism. The mystical scheme is distinct from othei 
forms of doctrine, only so long as it deals in general impos- 
ing phrases, and refuses to be explicit. Whenever it con- 
descends to explain itself, it is seen to be identical either 
with what Schleiermacher was pleased to call the magical 
view, or what the same author stigmatized as the empirical 
view. In point of fact, the tendency of the mystical school 
has been for the most part towards the latter; that is to 
say, their doctrine of atonement turns out to be simply a 
form of the moral influence theory. This is particularly 
true in reference to Schleiermacher. When we find him 
saying that, "as of the whole Jewish people the high priest 
alone appeared before God, and God, as it were, saw the 
whole people in him; so Christ is on this account our High 
Priest, because God sees us not every one for himself, but 
only in Him," 1 — we are ready to come to the conclusion, 
that here we have God accepting the unholy, on account 
of the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. But, read- 
ing on, we find that the doctrine, that Christ's obedience 
is our righteousness, or that His righteousness is imputed to 
us, means, for Schleiermacher, that " Christ as our High 
Priest represents us perfectly before God in virtue of His 
own complete fulfilment of the divine will, to which, through 
His life in us, the impulse is active in us also; so that, in 
this connection with Him, we too are objects of the divine 
complacency." 2 That is, Christ in us, not Christ for us, is 
the ground of justification. Christ, the founder of the 
divine kingdom, has introduced a new principle of life into 
the community called by His name. This principle, or, in 
other words, the life image of Christ, works like a leaven 
in the mass, gradually assimilating the members to the 
great Exemplar and Head. Because of this process of 
assimilation going on in those who are connected with 
Christ by a fellowship of life, God is well pleased with 
them, notwithstanding existing imperfection. Redemption 
is thus purely subjective; fellowship of life with Christ in 
His holiness and in His blessedness is the whole outcome 

1 Dc-r christliche Glaube, ii. p. 133. 
•-' Ibid. ii. p. 133. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 3 1 7 

of His work; ' and as in Schleiermacher's system this fellow- 
ship is not immediate, but only through the medium of the 
Church, direct personal fellowship with the Saviour being 
branded as magical, the redemptive influence emanating 
from the founder of the Christian religion reduces itself 
to the influence of a society, in which more or less clear 
ideas prevail, of that founder's teaching, spirit, and history. 
That is to say, as Baur has pointed out, 2 Schleiermacher's 
mystic conception of redemption and reconciliation passes 
over into that which he named the empirical, which wholly 
excludes the supernatural, and makes men's salvation sim- 
ply the natural result of doctrine and example acting on 
their minds, by way of moral influence. The same thing, 
however, it is cordially admitted, cannot be said of all who, 
more or less, share the Schleiermacherian point of view. 
Theologians like Nitzsch * not only recognise a direct 
personal fellowship with Christ, but teach a Christ for us 
as well as a Christ in us, and acknowledge that the work 
of redemption has an objective, Godward side, as well as a 
subjective. And when this is done, there need be no 
jealousy of the mystic theory. For redemption by sample 
can be combined with redemption by substitute. The doc- 
trine of a Christ in us and that of a Christ for us are not 
only compatible, but complementary of each other; either 
is but a half truth without the other. The two points of 
view, the mystic and the legal, are both recognised in 
Scripture; they are found meeting together amicably within 
a few verses of each other in a well-known chapter of one 
of Paul's Epistles. When, speaking in the name of Chris- 
tians, the apostle says, " We thus judge: if one died for all, 
then all died," he presents to view the mystic aspect of the 
truth, the death of Christ being here regarded as a sample 
of what has to be realized in each individual believer, and 
is realized in him, in proportion as he lives not to himself, 



1 Schleiermacher divides the work of Christ into two parts, distinguished respec- 
tively as the redeeming and the atoning activity. The redeeming activity consists 
in taking sinners into fellowship in His holiness; the atoning, in taking them irta 
fellowship in His blessedness. Vid. christlicke Glaube, ii. pp. 94, 102. 

? Die christlicke Lehre von der Versdhnimg, p. 619. 

> System der christlichen Lehre, pp. 279-283, 6te Auflage. 



3 1 S The Humiliation of Christ. 

but to Him that died and rose again. He presents the 
same subject on the legal side, when, at the close of the 
same chapter, addressing men whom he urges to be recon- 
ciled to God, he writes, " For He hath made Him to be sin 
for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the right- 
eousness of God in Him;" the death of Christ being viewed 
here as an event which takes place in order that we might 
not die, but be justified in God's sight, 1 — in other words, as 
the penalty of our sin inflicted on Christ as our substitute 
or vicar.' 

But can such a transference of legal responsibility as 
seems to be taught in this text really have taken place ? 
Is such a transference possible ? Is it worthy of the great 
Sovereign of the universe, the First Cause and Last End 
of all ? Is it in accordance with the facts of Christ's his- 
tory ? These are the questions to which we must now turn. 
Now, as to the first, it scarcely needs to be remarked, that 
what is affirmed by the Catholic doctrine is not transference 
of guilt or moral turpitude, but simply of legal liability. 
Christ was made sin for us, simply to the extent and effect 
of bearing penalty for our sin. Some prominent defenders 
of the Catholic doctrine have indeed hesitated to go even 
so far as this. Archbishop Magee, e. g., in his well-known 
work on the atonement, maintains that the idea of punish- 
ment in the strict sense cannot be abstracted from that of 
guilt; and, while admitting that Christ's sufferings were 
judicially inflicted, he holds that they can be called the 
punishment of our sins, only in the sense that they were 
the sufferings due to us the offenders, and which, if inflicted 
on the actual offenders, would then take properly the 
name of punishment. 3 A more recent writer, the Donellan 
lecturer for the year 1857, in a work on the atonement, 
which has for its praiseworthy aim to exhibit the Catholic 
doctrine cleared of such careless expressions and imperfect 
definitions as tend to awaken hostility or furnish a handle 
for scepticism, endorses the distinguished prelate's view, 
and says, "that we must, when we speak of the penal suf- 

1 2 Cor. v. 15. 21. * See Appendix, Note A. 

3 Discourses and Dissertations on the Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement and 
Sacrifice, Dissert. No. 42, p. 457 (4th ed.). 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 319 

ferings of Christ, admit that we use the word ' penal ' in a 
peculiar sense, as expressing the relation of those sufferings 
not to Him who bore them, but to our demerits, in which 
they originated." ' Such scruples are entitled to respect, 
yet there is truth in the remark of another theologian, that, 
in conceding the judicial character of Christ's sufferings, 
these writers admit all that is intended to be taught when 
the epithet " penal " is applied to them. 2 The vital ques- 
tion is, Can these sufferings be rightly regarded as judicial 
in their nature ? Now, looking at this question from our 
peculiar point of view, that of Christ's voluntary humilia- 
tion, I remark, that if descent into the legal standing of a 
sinner were at all possible, Christ would gladly make the 
descent. It was His mind, His bent, His mood, if I may 
so speak, to go down till He had reached the utmost limits 
of possibility. So minded, He would be predisposed to 
find the imputation of men's sin to Himself, to the intent 
of His bearing their penalty within these limits. By an 
antecedent act of subjective self-imputation, He would, so 
to say, prejudge the question in favour of the possibility of 
an objective imputation. What the moral government of 
God is supposed to forbid, the sympathy of the Son of man 
would be prone to ordain as a law for itself. The truth of 
this observation is tacitly acknowledged by the peculiar 
theory of atonement taught by the late Dr. M'Leod Camp- 
bell; the sole value of that theory, indeed, lies in the fact 
that it involves such an acknowledgment. That writer, 
repudiating the orthodox doctrine of imputation as a theo- 
logical figment, and improving a hint thrown out by Presi- 
dent Edwards respecting an alternative method of satisfying 
for sin, namely, by an adequate confession of sin, — a hint 
which he might have got from a schoolman of the twelfth 

1 MacDonnel, The Doctrine of the Atonement deduced from Scripture, Lect. 
vi. p. 198. It is well known that Anselm, who first formulated the theory of satis- 
faction, did not regard Christ's death as penal. Satisfaction in his system did not 
consist in paying the penalty, but was rather one of two alternatives, the other 
teing the paying of the penalty. Thus he says, in Cur Dens Homo, i. c. 15: 
" Nxesse est, ut omne peccatum satisfactio aut poena sequatur. 1 ' See Baur, Ver- 
tOhnungslehre, p. 183. If the disuse of a word would reconcile thoughtful mei 
to the truth intended to be conveyed, one might easily forego it. 

1 Professor Crawford, On the Atonement, p. 184. 



320 The Humiliation of Christ. 

century, 1 — propounds the doctrine that Christ, bearing us 
and our sins on His heart before the Father, made a perfect 
confession of human sin: a confession which "was a perfect 
Amen in humanity to the judgment of God on the sin of 
man; " " a confession due in the truth of things, due on our 
behalf though we could not render it, due from Him as in 
our nature and our true Brother, what He must needs feel 
in Himself because of the holiness and love which were in 
Him, what He must needs utter to the Father in expiation 
of our sins when He would make intercession for us; " a 
confession which had in it " all the elements of a perfect 
contrition and repentance, excepting the personal con- 
sciousness of sin." 2 The theory has been treated by critics 
of all schools as the eccentricity of a devout author, who, 
dissatisfied with the traditional theory, has substituted in 
its place another, involving not only greater difficulty, but 
even something very like absurdity. The idea of a con- 
fession made by a perfectly holy being, involving all the 
elements of a perfect repentance, except the personal con- 
sciousness of sin, is certainly absurd enough. It is either 
the play of Hamlet without the part of Hamlet; or, if the 
repentance have any real contents, then the remark of a 
Transatlantic critic is most pertinent: "After having im- 
plied that Christ repented of the sins of the race, we do 
not see why Mr. Campbell should object to the theory that 
He was punished for these sins." 3 Repentance is certainly 
the more difficult, and more obviously " impossible " task 
of the two, for a holy being to perform. But, as already 
hinted, this eccentric theory has at least this much value, 
that it bears testimony to the truth that, from whatever 
quarter objections to the imputation of our sin to Christ 
were to come, they were not likely to emanate from Christ 
Himself. The Saviour, according to this theory, through 
His holy, loving sympathy, imputes the sins of humanity 
to Himself, as sins for which a confession was due from 
Him as in our nature, our true Brother. The statement 
even implies an objective imputation, to the extent of 

1 Rupert of Duytz. 

2 J. M'Leori Campbell, On the Nature of the Atonement, p. 138. 

3 Professor Park, quoted in Bushnell's Forgiveness and Law, p. 31. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 321 

demanding such a confession. For if the confession was 
due to God in the very truth of things, surely God could 
claim His due; and to claim His due from Christ means to 
make Him responsible for the debt. In principle, the theory 
differs little from the orthodox; its peculiarity lies simply 
in this, that it makes the debt payable not by suffering 
merely, but by confession. But not to insist on this, and 
regarding the theory in question as denying objective im- 
putation of sin to Christ, we may still say of it that it 
asserts, with even extravagant emphasis, the subjective 
self-imputation of sin to Himself by Christ, as a thing 
inevitable to one minded as He was. And here at least it 
speaks the truth, though it may be in an exaggerated form; 
• for, without a doubt, it was the instinctive impulse of the 
Redeemer to impute to Himself the world's sin, and in the 
light of such imputation, to regard the evils of His earthly 
lot as a personal participation in the curse pronounced on 
man for sin. It was a satisfaction to His heart to feel that, 
in being born into a family whose royal lineage and mean 
condition, combined, bore expressive witness to the misery 
that had overtaken Israel for her sins, in being subjected 
to the necessity of earning His bread by the sweat of His 
brow, in being exposed to the assaults of Satan, in having 
to endure the contradiction of sinners, in being nailed to 
the cross, He was indeed made partaker of our curse — in 
this respect, too, our Brother, and like unto His brethren. 
From the same subjective point of view we may, with 
Rupert of Duytz, regard Jesus, as He went from Nazareth 
to the Jordan to be baptized by John, as going forth to do 
penance for the sin of the world, clothed in the very habit 
of a penitent, Himself the Holy of Holies, yet alone fit to 
render penitence for the sins of the elect, and, as the sin- 
bearer, receiving the baptism of repentance among the 
penitent multitude. 1 Every one who, like the Abbot of 
Duytz, takes a strong hold of the great truth of Christ's 
self-humiliating love, must sympathize with such a view. 

We can cite, in favour of this self-imputation of sin on 
the part of the Saviour, yet another witness, not a medi- 
aeval, but a modern one — viz. Bushnell, author of the work 

1 See Appendix, Note B. 



322 The Humiliation of Christ. 

already quoted in this lecture, on The Vicarious Sacrifice, 
This ingenious author, having ceased to be entirely satis- 
fied with the views set forth in the latter portions of that 
work, published a new treatise, entitled Forgiveness and 
Law, recalling these sections of the older publication, and 
substituting in their place certain new views, which had 
come into his mind, he tells us, almost like a revelation. 1 
The new views are promulgated with as much confidence 
as the old ones, as the unquestionable solution of the great 
problem. The overweening confidence of the writer is in- 
deed the gravest fault of the book. That a man should be 
slow of heart to understand the full meaning of Christ's 
death is no reproach; at least it is one which it would not 
become every Christian disciple to bring against a brother. 
That one who has made the great theme of redemption 
his study of many years should have something to learn 
and to unlearn still, is not to be wondered at; for therein 
is revealed the many-sided wisdom of God, s and who has yet 
seen all the sides ? nay, who has not, by the very intensity 
of his gaze at this or the other side, rendered himself as good 
as blind to the other sides, perhaps equally important ? But 
one who claims to have got new light, and by the very 
claim confesses previous partial error, ought to avoid the 
oracular style, and to speak with the modesty of one 
who feels he may have to confess to yet further changes 
of view. Certainly, if the Catholic doctrine be true, Bush- 
nell had still a good deal to learn; for he denounces that 
doctrine, as he understands it, with all the old vehemence. 
Still in the new work he makes an approach to the de- 
nounced theory in two important directions. He here ad- 
mits an objective real propitiation of God, as opposed to 
a purely subjective one, as previously asserted, in which 
the disciple merely objectivizes his own feelings, conceiving 
that God Himself is representatively mitigated or become 

1 Since these lectures were delivered, Horace Bushnell has passed to his rest 
and I cannot refrain from expressing my admiration of the man, and the great 
enjoyment, intense stimulus, and frequent help I have gained from the perusal of 
his writings, in which, whatever debateable opinions they may contain, sanctified 
genius shines out on every page. Readers of his biography will learn thence how 
well he deserves to be called ar. earnest seeker after truth. 

• Eph. iii. 10. 



Hie Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 323 

propitious, because he is himself inwardly reconciled to God. 1 
Instead of this, the author here asserts a real propitiation 
of God, " finding it in evidence from the propitiation we 
instinctively make ourselves when we heartily forgive,"' 
— having observed, that is, that men who want to forgive 
thoroughly have first to overcome their own moral disgust, 
by doing acts for the offender which cost them effort and 
sacrifice.' The other approximation consists in asserting 
that Christ was " incarnated into the curse," as a necessary 
condition of His being able to raise men out of the curse 
into the sphere of Christian liberty. The author represents 
Christ as " consciously " suffering " the curse or penal shame 
and disaster of our transgression," in all the leading crises 
of His life — in the temptation, in the scene upon Mount 
Olivet when He wept over Jerusalem, in the agony of 
Gethsemane, and in the crucifixion. His Incarnation, we 
are told, put Him in the compass of all that belongs to the 
solidarity of the curse, except that He is touched by none 
of its contaminations. 4 " Under the curse He feels as if the 
condemnations of God were upon Him — as they are in all 
the solidarities of the race into which He is come." 5 " He 
suffers all the suffering of mankind; not as we do, in mere 
sympathy with the suffering itself, but as beholding it in 
its guilty causes, — a suffering in which the displeasures of 
God and His compassions are united, by a conjunction that 
is itself the utmost possibility of suffering.' 6 Here is a 
sufficiently distinct recognition of the subjective imputation 
of sin to Himself by Christ, who, according to the theory, 
looks on Himself throughout life as under the curse, the 
penal shame and disaster of transgression, the condemna- 
tions and displeasures of God. The author seems inclined 
to go even further than this, and to admit that Christ's 
sufferings in these penal aspects were appointed by God, 
and in some sense a divine infliction. When the prophet 
says, " He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised 
for our iniquities," it is not to be doubted that he conceives 

1 Forgiveness and Law, p. 12. J Ibid. p. 12. 

3 For illustrations, see pp. 40-48 of the work. 

4 Forgiveness and Law, p. 151. 6 Ibid. p. 155. 
6 Ibid. p. 155. 



324 The Humiliation of Christ. 

some kind of penal infliction in the suffering endured. 1 The 
only thing doubted is, whether "it is the penalty of our 
state of discipline, or of justice itself." Bushnell stren- 
uously maintains the former alternative. Conceding that 
Christ's sufferings were penal, not only to His feelings, 
but by God's will, he contends that they were not judicial, 
but merely penal-sanction sufferings — just the inverse of 
the position taken up by Archbishop Magee. He holds 
that there is no such thing as judicial suffering in this 
world, strict justice being reserved for the world to come. 
Here men are under a scheme of "probatory discipline," 
and all the sufferings they undergo are of a disciplinary 
character. The curse of the law is not the justice of God, 
but simply the penal-sanction discipline we are under. 1 
And what is true of us is true of Christ. His suffering may 
legitimately enough, perhaps, be regarded as a divine in- 
fliction, but it does not follow that the infliction is judicial 
penalty; for it can as well be penal-sanction suffering, as 
we certainly know that all other suffering in this world is.* 
" The retributive liability He is in, is indeed severe enough 
to bear even a look of justice. We only happen to know 
that no suffering of our own under the curse is justice, and 
that He is suffering with us in our lot as it is. If we call 
it penal, as I have called the disciplinary sanction arranged 
for, it is not the penalty of justice." 4 

From this account of the latest speculations of this very 
able and earnest American theologian two inferences may 
fairly be drawn. One is, that what I have named the 
subjective imputation of sin to Himself by Christ, will ever 
appear, on due consideration, to be an essential element of 
His self-humiliation. The other is, that it will be found 
difficult to hold a subjective imputation, without admitting 
a corresponding objective imputation. Once reckon it as 
necessary to the completeness of our Lord's humiliation 
that He should become like unto His brethren, even to the 
extent of reckoning Himself a partaker in the penal con- 
sequences of sin, not merely as evil, but as penalty, and 
you are forced to ask yourself: Does this subjective con- 

1 Forgiveness and Lai v, p. 1 70. * Ibid. p. 166. 

3 Ibid. p. 172. 4 Ibid. p. 167. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 325 

sciousness of the Saviour answer to any objective law or 
principle of divine government ? or is it merely an exagger- 
ated, though amiable, assertion of His solidarity with the 
race, on the part of one who burns with the enthusiasm of 
humanity ? The latter alternative is not likely to commend 
itself to a considerate mind. For Christ in His humiliation 
was not wilful. He was not a " voluntary" in His humility. 
He humbled Himself in the spirit of obedience, doing, 
doubtless con amore, what was required of Him, but not 
more than was required of Him. If so, then it was the 
Father's will that His Son should be on earth as a sinner, 
suffering penalty for sin. In this light He regarded His 
Son Himself; in this way He would have His Son view His 
own position; in this way He would have all men regard 
Him. He sent Him into the world, as it were, saying, 
" Behold the Lamb of God, who beareth the sin of the 
world." 

But, all this conceded, there still remains the great 
question, In what sense is Christ the bearer of sin by divine 
appointment ? is it in the sense of suffering for sin under 
a judicial infliction, or is it merely in the sense of suffering 
under the penal sanctions of this present state of probation- 
ary discipline ? The question here has reference not to 
what Christ suffered, but to the design for which He 
suffered. On either alternative the material of Christ's 
sufferings may be the same; but the design varies, accord- 
ing as we adopt the one or the other mode of con- 
ceiving them. If we conceive those sufferings as a judicial 
infliction, then we regard them as a ground on which God, 
with a due regard to the claims of justice, grants remission 
of sin, involving exemption from all penal consequences, 
and especially from the wrath to come. If we conceive 
the sufferings as simply amounting to participation in the 
penal sanctions of a disciplinary state, then their design 
may be simply to enhance the moral power of the sufferer 
to bring us out of our sins, and so, as a matter of course, 
out of their penal retributions, temporal and eternal. Christ 
comes down to our level in order that He may lift us to 
His. Finding us under the law, under the curse, under a 
system of penal sanctions expressive of divine displeasure 



326 The Humiliation of Christ. 

against sin, yet remedial in their aim, He Himself comes un- 
der the law, the curse, the penal sanctions; that He may, by 
the moral power thus gained, raise us out of law into liberty, 
out of the curse into the blessedness of holiness, out of 
penal sanctions into the privileges of sonship. This latter 
design is thought to be eminently worthy of God, while the 
former is denounced as utterly unworthy of the First Cause 
and Last End of all. 

Does the case indeed stand so ? Must we, as an increas- 
ing number of voices declare, give up the celebrated doc- 
trine of satisfaction as indefensible, and, in particular, as 
derogatory to the divine wisdom ? This is a question which 
cannot be adequately discussed here; but a kw general 
observations may be submitted, with special reference to 
the bearing of the subject upon the character of the supreme 
Ruler of the universe. That it became Him for whom are 
all things, and by whom are all things, for one reason or 
another, to subject the Captain of salvation to a curriculum 
of suffering, is generally admitted. The point in dispute is, 
whether it became Him to subject the Saviour of men to 
suffering in the form of legal penalty for sin. Now here it 
greatly behoves us to recall to mind that expression of the 
Apostle Paul's, already casually referred to, wherein he 
speaks of the work of redemption through Christ, as con- 
taining a revelation or exhibition of the manifold, many- 
sided, or, many-coloured wisdom of God — ?} Tto\vTtoim\o% 
6oq>ia rov GeoO. The precise connection of thought in which 
the expression occurs it is not necessary to point out; it 
bears the stamp of a phrase coined by the apostle, to 
embody the feeling produced in his mind, by deep and pro- 
tracted reflection on the gracious purpose of God in Jesus 
Christ. After long, rapt meditation on the sublime theme, 
Paul feels that the divine idea of redemption has many 
aspects. The pure light of divine wisdom revealed in the 
gospel is resolvable into many coloured rays, which to- 
gether constitute a glorious spectrum presented to the 
admiring view of principalities and powers in heavenly 
places, and of all men on earth whose eyes have been 
opened to see it. Entering intc the apostle's mind on this 
great theme, we too should come to the study of our Lord's 



The Humiliation of Christ hi its Official Aspect. 327 

sufferings, prepared to find therein a many-sided revelation 
of divine wisdom: not merely the righteous One suffering 
for righteousness' sake at the hands of the unrighteous; or 
the Holy one suffering sympathetically with the unholy, 
that He may win their confidence; or a revelation of divine 
love in self-sacrifice, meant to overcome the distrust with 
which human beings regard the Deity, and assure them of 
His good will; or the Son of God stooping to conquer, 
voluntarily humbling Himself, because that is the way to 
gain sovereignty over human hearts, and to obtain the 
highest of all dominion — that, viz., which wields sway 
through moral influence, not through mere physical force; 
or a contrivance for securing that the pardon of sin shall 
not be prejudicial to the interests of government and good 
morals; or, " a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice:" but all 
these together. Why not look on the cross as a prism which 
analyzes the light of divine wisdom into all these coloured 
rays, and possibly into others whose presence we may have 
hitherto failed to detect; so, in place of insisting that 
Christ's earthly sufferings could serve only one end, acting 
as if we believed that the greater the number of ends served 
in mutual harmony, the more these sufferings became Him 
who, as the First Cause and Last End of all, appointed 
them as means to accomplish His own wise purposes ? 
Unity amid variety is doubtless to be desired; and if we 
can get one theoretic principle from which we can deduce 
all particulars as corollaries, it is well; but meantime it is 
most important to take heed that we exclude none of the 
facts, and that our induction of particulars be complete. If 
we be at a loss as to which aspect of the subject should be 
placed first, as the most important, let us at least be care- 
ful to omit none of the aspects. Perhaps in past times 
theologians have been more anxious to have their cut and 
dry theory, than to make a full collection of the facts; and 
it is gratifying, therefore, to find recent inquirers on this 
as on other theological subjects, preferring the inductive 
to the deductive method, according to which, in the words 
of Professor Crawford, who has himself adopted this method, 
" we first of all address ourselves to the actual statements 
of Holy Scripture upon the subject, — deferring in the mean- 



328' The Humiliation of Christ. 

while all theories and assumptions, — and endeavour, by a 
fair examination and a careful comparison and classification 
of these statements, to arrive at such conclusions as are 
deducible from them." l 

Now it would certainly be very surprising if it should 
turn out, as the result of such an induction, that the suffer- 
ings of Christ stood in no relation to the attributes of divine 
holiness and justice. One would expect to find the satis- 
factory manifestation of these attributes taking its place 
among the ends for the accomplishment of which it became 
the Supreme to make the Captain of salvation a sufferer, 
alongside the manifestation of divine compassion in sympa- 
thizing with man's misery, and of divine mercy in forgiving 
man's sin, and of divine condescension in stooping to man's 
low level, and of divine love in bearing man's woe. Why 
should the cross reveal all these last-named attributes, and 
not also God's holy hatred of sin, and His justice in punish- 
ing sin ? In revealing these not less than those, does it not 
only the more completely display the divine wisdom, by ex- 
hibiting that attribute as one which can accomplish many 
different ends by one and the same means ? If Christ 
crucified be the wisdom of God as satisfying His love through 
self-sacrifice, is He not still more the wisdom of God in 
satisfying at once both His love and His J7istice — His love, 
by suffering in sympathy with the sinner's misery; His 
justice, by suffering penalty for sin in the sinner's stead ? a 

To this it may be replied: Yes, were the two ends com- 

1 The Atonement, p. 3. 

2 Some may prefer to make the reference to justice spring out of the idea of 
love. In this way is the subject regarded in a recent American publication which 
I have read with very great pleasure: Old Faiths in New Light, by Newman 
Smith (Scribner, New York). Mr. Smith says: "In thinking of the ways of God 
which meet in the Incarnation, our all-illumining conception must be derived 
from the purest human experience of love. . . . Now human love has in it three 
essential elements; there are three primary colours in love's perfect light; and 
these three are, the giving of self, or benevolence; the putting self in another's 
place, sympathy, or the vicanousness of love; and the assertion of the worth of 
the gift, of the self which is given — self-respect, or the righteousness of love. Under 
the conception of vicariousness, and the assertion of its own worth involved in per- 
fect love, the Christian doctrines of Atonement and Redemption need to be re- 
garded ; and when considered from any lower point of view, as that of law or gov- 
ernment, the sacrificial work of Christ is hardly lifted out of difficulties and snadowi 
into a pure moral light." — P. 277. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 329 

patible; but they are not. The dogma of satisfaction, in the 
ecclesiastical sense, makes God a merchant of Venice, who 
stands for justice, and demands the pound of flesh from 
one quarter or another — just, but utterly ungenerous; nay, 
not even just, for the dogma involves the perpetration of 
the injustice of inflicting upon the innocent penalty due to 
the guilty — an injustice miserably cloaked by the theologic 
fiction of imputation. Now, certainly any theory which 
were justly chargeable with degrading the Most High into 
a Merchant of Venice, would be worthy only of reprobation. 
But before condemnation is pronounced, care must be 
taken to ascertain that it is not a case of extremes meeting. 
What if the two characters compared meet in the one point 
of standing for justice, and be in all other respects the moral 
antipodes of each other ? The fact is even so. What God 
demands is, as we shall see, not the exact pound of flesh, 
neither more nor less; and what He does demand, He takes 
not from any quarter, even from an enemy, but from the 
heart of His own beloved Son. A similar observation may- 
be made in reply to Ritschl's objection, that the orthodox 
doctrine makes God a Pharisee, who will have dealings 
only with perfectly righteous men. 1 Here again we have 
a case of extremes meeting. It is quite true in one sense 
that God has dealings only with the morally perfect; for, 
as Schleiermacher has said, Only the complete can stand 
before Him. 2 But herein God differs toto coelo from the 
Pharisee, that He has taken pains to establish a mediated 
fellowship with the imperfect through the perfect One. 
We are " accepted in the Beloved." God hath dealings 
with the sinful in such a way that His zeal for holiness is 
above suspicion. While holding loving intercourse with 
the morally defective, He keeps the realized Ideal of 
moral excellence ever in His eye, and requires us to do the 
same, that we may know our standing to be, not on our 
merit, or on divine laxity, but on divine grace. How 
different from the Pharisee is God in all this ! Pharisaic 
righteousness is exclusive; God's righteousness is self- 

1 Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und VersOhnung, vol. ii. p. 312, iii. p. 96. 

2 Der christliche Giaube, ii. p. 135: Nur das Vollkommne vor Gott vorstehen 
kann. 



330 TJic Humiliation of Christ. 

communicative. The Pharisee knows of no way to show 
his love for righteousness, other than by holding aloof from 
the unrighteous. God, in His beloved Son, makes such a 
manifestation of His righteousness, that He appears at once 
as a just God and as a Saviour; righteous, and making 
righteous him that believeth on Jesus, accepting the un- 
righteous for the sake of His righteous One. 

But the main stress of the objection to the Catholic doc- 
trine is not directed against the idea of God being well 
pleased with the imperfect out of regard to the perfect One; 
for what else but this is meant by Ritschl's own doctrine, 
that God imputes to sinners their fellowship with Christ as 
a ground for a fellowship between them and Himself ? The 
offence lies in the idea of the innocent suffering in the place 
of the guilty, as if their unrighteousness were imputed to 
Him, and made a ground of penal procedure against Him. 
But are not the two imputations one in principle ? does 
not the one imply the other ? Ritschl, indeed, as we have 
seen, 1 will not hear of an imputation of Christ's righteous- 
ness to us, but only of an imputation of our fellowship with 
Him. Be it so; the question then takes this shape: If our 
fellowship with Christ may be imputed to us as a ground 
of favour before God, may not Christ's fellowship with us 
be imputed to Him as a ground why He should become in 
a judicial sense the bearer of our iniquities ? Of the reality 
of the fellowship there can be no doubt. The innocent One 
who suffers for the guilty is no stranger who has fortunately 
been discovered somewhere in the universe, and found will- 
ing to become the sacrificial victim. He is a kinsman of 
the guilty, one with them not only in sympathy, but also 
by divine appointment, as truly as the members of one 
family are brethren. This fact helps at least to explain 
the strange phenomenon of innocence suffering for guilt. 
It were too much to say that the covenant oneness be- 
tween Christ and sinners makes everything axiomatically 
plain; for, as Professor Crawford has pointed out, by con- 
necting our Lord's sufferings with a covenant, we shift the 
difficulty rather than solve it. 2 The question may be 
raised regarding such a covenant, Was it not a pactum il* 

1 Vid. o. 312. - The Atonement, p. 144. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 331 

licitum ? But it is going too far on the other hand to say, 
that the idea of a covenant does not in the smallest degree 
help to clear up the mysteriousness of Christ's sufferings in 
the room of the guilty. It renders this service at least, 
that it brings those sufferings within the scope of inal- 
ogies, which help us to see that they are in harmony with 
the world in which we live. For it is a fact, that the closer 
men are connected by family, social, or political ties, the 
more they are dealt with, under divine Providence, as a 
joint-stock company both for good and for evil. Whether 
this be just or not according to our notions, it is, at all 
events, the sort of justice that is agoing. It is something 
to see this. It helps us to abstain from dogmatizing, and 
to submit to a mystery which we cannot understand. But 
we are not under the necessity of resigning ourselves, per- 
manently, to the despairing attitude of men who regard 
divine justice as something simply inscrutable. On patient 
inquiry, we find that this perplexing sort of justice, which 
looks so very like injustice, has a good deal to say for it- 
self. It is less than just, only because it is a great deal 
more. The constitution under which we live, in nature and 
in grace, departs from the s^ict rule of retributive justice 
which renders to each man according to his works, in the 
interest of that great principle of love for which alone, ac- 
cording to many, God has any regard. While inflicting on 
involuntary sufferers much suffering which they may gloom- 
ily regard as a dismal fate, it supplies to love, willing to 
suffer, a glorious opportunity, making it possible for one to 
do good to others by prayer, like Abraham; by character, 
like David; by holy obedience in life and death, like the 
great Captain of salvation. 1 Such a constitution is worthy 

1 The principle of vicariousness is involved in intercessory prayer not less than 
in the doctrine of atonement, and it admits of the same defence in the one case as 
in the other — viz. that its recognition by God affords opportunity and stimulus to 
love. On this aspect of the subject Dr. Price has some good observations in his 
Dissertation on Prayer. To the question of a supposed objector to intercessory 
prayer, What influence can our prayers have on the state of others ? he replies by 
pointing out that it is not necessary to suppose that the treatment which beings 
shall receive depends in all cases solely on what they are in themselves; that though 
this is what the universal Governor chiefly regards, it is not all; and that while 
there are some benefits which no means can obtain for beings who have not cer- 
tain qualifications, there are others which one being may obtain for another. He 



33 2 The Humiliation of Christ. 

of Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things. 
It is a constitution based on grace, and pervaded by grace 
throughout. This holds true even with regard to the 
covenant of works, which we are accustomed to set in con- 
trast to the covenant of grace. There was grace even in 
that earliest covenant in this respect among others, that it 
held the race to be represented by its first individual mem- 
ber as its head. That procedure was not according to the 
strict rule of retributive justice, which renders to each man, 
as an isolated unit, according to his individual desert; but 
it was a procedure subservient to the purposes of grace, for 
it caused sin and the curse to abound, that grace might 
superabound. And grace was not tardy in beginning its 
benign sway. It came into play from the moment Adam 
fell. The second Adam began His reign of grace the day 
sin entered the world, producing by His secret influence, 
long before He came in the flesh, effects which are unde- 
niable as facts, but which are not always traced to their 
true cause. Bushnell and Ritschl both tell us that God's 
dealings with mankind in this life are not of a strictly ju- 
dicial character, that mercy is largely mingled with judg- 
ment, and that wrath, in the^absolute sense, is a thing to 
come. The latter of these writers even goes so far as to 
say, that the very idea of retributive justice is hardly to be 
found in Scripture, being traceable only in one or two texts 
in Paul's Epistles, where for the moment he accommodates 
himself to the Pharisaic standpoint of the unchristian Jews 
with whom he is arguing. Righteousness as an attribute 
of God, according to Scripture usage as interpreted by 
Ritschl, signifies the consistency with which God conducts 
His federally faithful people to their promised destiny, and 
is substantially the same thing as grace. 1 How differently 
different men read the Bible ! Matthew Arnold sees in 
the Old Testament nothing but a Power making for 

then goes on to say: " The whole scheme of nature seems to be contrived on pur- 
pose in such a manner as that beings might have it in their power in numberless 
ways to bless one another. . . . One end of this constitution appears plainly to 
be, to give us room and scope for the exercise of beneficence." — Four Disserta- 
tions, p. 233, 2d edition. 

1 Die ckristhche Lehre von der Recht/ertigung und VersOhnung, ii. pp. 10^ 
no, conf. iii. 412. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 333 

righteousness, in the sense of tending to make character 
and lot correspond — that is, to render to men, individually 
and collectively, according to their works. Ritschl sees 
in the same Scriptures nothing but Grace, tending to con- 
duct a chosen race to the attainment of an unmerited good. 
Each has seen but half the truth, though the theologian 
certainly comes nearer the truth than the litterateur y for 
the distinctive idea of revealed religion is God manifesting 
Himself as the God of grace. But passing from this, and 
reverting to the statement that God's dealings with the 
race in this world are not of a strictly or exclusively ju- 
dicial character, I remark that such is the blessed fact. 
Though the fallen race is under the divine displeasure, it 
is also to a large extent under divine mercy: God is good 
to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. 1 He 
is gracious, and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of 
great mercy, 2 to such an extent that His patience has often 
been a stumbling-block and an offence to the good; as to 
Job, who asked in wonder why God did not appoint peri- 
odic times of judgment, when, like a judge on circuit, He 
might try the wicked, and punish them for their iniquities; * 
and to Jonah, who deserted God's service, giving as a rea- 
son, " For I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and mer- 
ciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest 
Thee of the evil." 4 But, what is the rationale of this di- 
vine patience ? God's patience with a sinful world, from 
the beginning had its ground in Christ; even as, after 
Christ's advent in the flesh, it received its justification 
through His sacrifice on Calvary. Hence the divine wink- 
ing at heathen ignorance and idolatry; 6 hence the divine 
forbearance with the sin of pre-Christian times; 6 hence the 
divine patience with the chosen people, under the ever-ac- 
cumulating load of unexpiated transgression, with which 
the inheritance was so heavily burdened as to be of little 
value to the heir; 7 hence the continued existence of the 
fallen race, banished from Paradise and under the curse, 
yet under a curse much and many ways modified, insomuch 

1 Ps. cxlv. 9. 2 Ps cxlv. 8. s job xxiv. i. 

4 Jonah iv. 2. « Acts xvii. 30. e Rom. iii. 25. 

7 Heb. ix. 15. 



334 The Humiliation of Christ* 

that Zuingli felt emboldened to say, that while original 
sin by itself would have made all men damnable, it does 
not in fact, because of the plan of redemption. The se- 
cret of all this marvellous forbearance with a dark, wicked 
world was the Son in the bosom of the Father, a mystery 
hid for many generations from men, so that it exercised 
little power over them as a subjective influence, except 
as the object of a dim starlight hope or presentiment; a 
mystery hid in God, but not hid from Him, but, on the 
contrary, determining His attitude towards, and influenc- 
ing His dealings with, the world, as truly before as it has 
done since the Incarnation. 1 All this vast influence on the 
fortunes of the human race Christ exercised, as the Lamb 
slain, from the foundation of the world. As the Logos of 
God, He made the worlds; as the Son of' God, He upheld 
all things by the word of His power; as the Lamb of God, 
He secured for a guilty race that it should have a history, 
and a history which, while bearing abundant traces of di- 
vine displeasure, should not less manifestly wear upon it a 
stamp of divine patience, goodness, and mercy. Hence, 
when the Lamb was actually slain in the fulness of time, 
the event was what the Apostle Paul calls a declaration 
of God's righteousness in His relation to the pre-Christian 
world. 2 It revealed the true ground of the divine proce- 
dure, and, if we may so say, redeemed the divine character 
from the charge of laxity, as if God had behaved Himself 
towards men like an absolute but benignant despot, deal- 
ing leniently with his slaves, partly in lofty contempt, 
partly in humane pity; by showing that in all His dealings 
with men, wherein He dealt not with them after their sins, He 
had regard to the perfect One who, in the end of the 
world, was to appear to atone for sin by the sacrifice of 
Himself. Be it observed, this is not to degrade Christ's 
sacrifice into a governmental display intended to act on 
men's fears, and prevent them from abusing divine good- 
ness. An atonement after the fashion of a governmental 
display has no effect on God, and it has an effect on men 
only after the display has been made; and it affects them 
by making them believe that God is more severe than ex 
1 Eph. iii. 9. s Rom. iii. 25, 26. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 335 

hypothesi He really is. The atonement made by Christ was a 
display of God's righteousness, in Paul's sense, as revealing 
the hidden ground of past forbearance on God's part towards 
men, clearing God's action of all appearance of laxity, and 
making manifest that He was in reality more severe than 
He seemed. And it accomplished all this, just because the 
Lamb of God, in His sacrifice, was the subject of judicial 
dealing, bearing on Him the sin of the world. God was 
justified in not dealing with men after their sins, by deal- 
ing with the sinless One as a sinner. Christ suffering under 
a penal-sanction discipline would not have served the pur- 
pose. This view makes Christ simply one factor in the 
world's moral education, coming in at the proper juncture 
and exercising a critical influence on the process, from that 
point onwards; contemplated by God from the first in that 
capacity, but exercising no influence whatever on the earlier 
stages of the process. In Paul's view, Christ is the main- 
spring of all human history, the hidden ground of the di- 
vine attitude and procedure towards the world from the 
first; not merely the power <?/God since His Incarnation, 
but a power with God, as the Lamb slain by foreordination, 
from the creation onwards through all the pre-Christian 
ages. 

But supposing it to be conceded that Christ, as the sin- 
bearer in the eye of law, exercised a controlling influence 
on the whole history of God's relations to the world, an 
important question still remains, viz. how far is Christ's 
position as the sin-bearer reconcilable with His own per- 
sonal relation to His heavenly Father, which, as exhibited 
in the gospel history, was one of perfect, unbroken mutual 
fellowship ? Now, in proceeding to make some observa- 
tions on this delicate topic, I remark at the outset, that the 
fact as to Christ's relationship to His Father is as stated, 
and that it must fare badly with any theory which cannot 
afford to make this admission. Throughout His life on 
earth Jesus loved His Father with His whole heart, and 
believed Himself to be so loved in turn by His Father. In 
this respect the relation between Father and Son continued 
as it was before the Incarnation. The only difference pro- 
duced by that event was, that in the incarnate state the 



336 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Son had to maintain His fellowship oflove with His Fathef 
through faith, and amid experiences by which His faith 
was more or less severely tried. The capacity of sin-bearer, 
in which He underwent those experiences, did not alter the 
relation; for if Christ was in fact legally the sin-bearer 
while on earth, He was the sin-bearer by destination before 
He came into the world; and if the purpose understood on 
both sides was compatible with perfect fellowship, while the 
Son was in the bosom of the Father, why should its ex- 
ecution in time interrupt the good understanding ? We 
must here recall to mind the truth set forth in our eighth 
axiom, that Christ's state of humiliation was at the same 
time a state invested with moral dignity and glory, as one 
in which He had, by the favour of His Father, an oppor- 
tunity of achieving a sublime task, in His high and hon- 
ourable calling as the Captain of salvation. Christ Himself 
did not lose sight of this truth; it was ever present to His 
thoughts, carrying Him through the hardest experiences 
as the mere incidents of a congenial vocation. Hence, 
though a man of sorrow, He was even on earth anointed 
with the oil of gladness above His fellows. Does this seem 
strange ? Why, even Apollo, unjustly banished from heaven, 
and cherishing a sense of injury done to him by Jove, in 
his state of exile, a neatherd in the service of Admetus, is 
represented by the poet as making the vale of Pheraea 
vocal with the sweet sounds of his lute, and gathering the 
wild beasts around him by the charms of celestial music. 1 
Shall we wonder that there was divine gladness in the heart 
of Him who came into this world, not by constraint, but 
willingly; not with a burning sense of wrong, but with a 
grateful sense of high privilege; and that He had a blessed 
consciousness of fellowship with His Father, who sent Him, 
during the whole of His pilgrimage through this vale of 
tears ? It is true, indeed, that the position assigned to 
Christ by the Catholic theory gives to His suffering experi- 
ence an aspect which may seem, incompatible with such 
fellowship; and therefore one who is determined to hold 
by the latter at all hazards may think it necessary to deny 
that Christ either did occupy such a position on earth, or 

1 Euripides, Alcestis. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 337 

that it was ever intended that He should occupy it. For 
if He suffered as the sin-bearer, then His sufferings were 
penal, and bore to His view the aspect of an expression of 
divine anger against sin. But the notion that such a way of 
viewing His sufferings could not be combined in the Saviour's 
consciousness with a fellowship of faith and love towards 
His Father, while not unnatural, is nevertheless mistaken, 
and based upon misunderstanding. For two things must 
be borne in mind if we would understand this matter aright. 
One is, that at no time was the Saviour the object of His 
Father's personal displeasure. This must be held to be a 
necessary corollary from Christ's personal holiness, and as 
such it has been accepted by all writers who have handled 
this topic with due discrimination; as, e. g., notably by 
Calvin, who says: "We do not indeed insinuate that God 
was either ever opposed to or angry with Him. For how 
could He be angry with His beloved Son, in whom His 
mind rested ? or how could Christ, by His intercession, 
propitiate for others a Father whom He had as an enemy to 
Himself? " The true relation of the Saviour to the divine 
anger is indicated by the same great theologian in the fol- 
lowing sentence of the place from which I quote: " This 
we say, that He sustained the gravity of divine severity; 
since, being stricken and afflicted by the hand of God, He 
experienced all the signs of an angry and punishing God." ' 
The other thing most needful to be borne in mind is, that 
Christ was under the anger of God, in the sense explained 
so well in these words of Calvin, not only during His last 
sufferings, but during the whole time of His humiliation. 
It is true that the extreme and most striking signs of divine 
anger were concentrated in the brief crisis of the passion; 
the only signs which appear to have put a very severe 
strain upon the Saviour's faith, and in connection with 
which His consciousness of being under the divine anger 
against sin, found unmistakable expression in the confes- 

1 Calvini Institution lib. ii. cap. xvi. n: Neque tamen innuimus Deum fuisse 
unquam illi vel adversarium vel iratum. Quomodo enim dilecto Filio, in que 
animus ejus acquievit, irasceretur? aut quomodo Christus Patrem aliis sua inter- 
cessione placaret, quern ir.fensum haberet ipse sibi ? Sed hoc nos dicimus, divinae 
severitatis gravitatem eum sustinmsse: quoniam manu Dei percussus et afflictus. 
omnia irati et punientis Dei signa expertus est. 



338 The Humiliation of Christ. 

sion of weakness in Gethsemane, and in the complaints of 
desertion on the cross. But we are not to suppose that, 
in these final experiences, new not in kind but in degree, 
the Father entered into a new relation to His Son, which 
was the cause and explanation of these peculiar experiences, 
and of them alone. The relation was the same throughout, 
and was in the same sense cause and explanation of Christ's 
whole state of humiliation. Throughout that state the Son 
of God was under the divine anger against sin manifesting 
itself in one way at one time, in another way at another; 
sometimes from causes which we can understand, some- 
times from causes which are unfathomable. This way of 
looking at the matter, I am aware, has not been very 
generally followed, theologians; for the most part, having 
treated Christ's experience of His Father's wrath as a 
special item in His humiliation, which He underwent in 
connection with the crucifixion. The other view, however, 
according to which the wrath of God embraces the whole 
state of humiliation, under a certain aspect, has not been 
left entirely out in the cold by theologians. It can quote 
in its own behalf at least two first-class authorities from 
the sixteenth century, the Heidelberg Catechism on the 
Reformed side, and Hutterus as representing the Lutherans; 
the former teaching that Christ, during the whole time of 
His life on earth, but especially at its close, sustained in 
His body and in His soul the anger of God against the sin 
of the whole human race; 1 the latter representing our 
Saviour as truly experiencing the sense of infernal pains, 
not for a moment, or some small space of time, but through- 
out the whole time of exinanition. 2 The same idea has 
been reproduced in modern times by at least two German 
theologians, Bodemeyer 3 and Hofmann; the former a hyper- 
orthodox Lutheran; the latter occupying an independent 

' See Lecture i. of this course, p. 37. 

2 Quoted by Schmid: Die Dogmatik der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirchc, 5te 
Auf. p. 303. The words are: Quemadmodum sane Christus non ad momentum 
vel exiguum aliquod temporis spatium, sed per omne tempus exinanitionis, sensunj 
dolorum istorum infernalium vere subiit, ita ut tandem exclamare necessum hab- 
eret, Deus meus, Deus meus, quare me dereliquisti ? 

3 Die Lehre von der Kenosis dargestellt, Gflttingen i860. This author under* 
stands the kenosis in the old Lutheran sense of Hpvrfn. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 339 

theological view-point, and regarded by intelligent readers 
as making important approximations to orthodoxy; while 
he is universally admitted, by friends and foes alike, to be 
worthy of all honour for his ability, candour, and reverential 
regard for the authority of Scripture. Hofmann's remarks 
on this subject are so well fitted to convey a distinct idea 
of what is meant by saying that Christ was under the 
anger of God throughout His life, that I feel tempted to 
indulge in a somewhat lengthy quotation, all the more that 
the book from which I quote is not likely to become gen- 
erally known in this country. Contrasting his own views 
with those of Thomasius, who limits Christ's experience of 
divine wrath to the passion, Hofmann says: " To me, that 
Christ assumed our nature, and that He came under the 
anger of God, are one and the same thing. Humanity 
being under God's anger, it is for me a matter of course 
that Christ's entrance into humanity is a self-subjection to 
this anger. As, now, the whole history of the Lord is the 
carrying out of that relation to His Father, in which He 
placed Himself by His Incarnation; so He experienced, 
from His conception to His death, the anger of the Father 
against humanity, according to the measure of the progress 
of His history; in one way before and during His unfolding 
to human self-conscious life, otherwise after the same; in 
one way as a man in general, otherwise as an Israelite in 
particular; in one way before the beginning of His public 
life, otherwise in the course of the same; in one way in the 
time of His work, otherwise in the hours of His passion and 
death. Is all evil in the world effect of the anger of God 
against sinful humanity ? — then all experience of the former 
is experience of the latter. And is it God's anger against 
sinful humanity which brings about that Satan tempts and 
opposes us ? — then Christ also experienced the same in all 
the temptations and assaults of Satan. God's anger against 
sin placed Israel under the law of commandments and pro- 
hibitions. Made under this law, Christ stands under the 
wrath, without which the law had not been. God's anger 
against Israel's transgression of the law brought that people 
into misery. This anger Jesus felt in sharing the misery 
of Israel and of the house of David. Finally, is it God's 



34-0 TJie Humiliation of Christ. 

anger against sin which gives the righteous up to the un- 
righteous, that the latter may fill up the measure of his 
iniquity and be ripe for judgment ? — even so, this same 
anger gives Christ up to His enemies; to Satan it delivers 
Him up as a victim, that the enmity against God, and what 
is God's, may fill up its cup of judgment. For in both 
shows itself the anger of God against sin; that it forgives 
not sin without Christ, and such a history of Christ: and 
that through the same Christ in whom God makes propitia- 
tion for sin for the benefit of the penitent, this very sin in 
the impenitent reaches the point at which, as completed 
enmity against God, it is given over to final judgment." 1 
It appears to me that the way of viewing the present topic, 
here advocated by Hofmann, 2 has much to recommend it; 
and this not least, that it enables us to dispose easily of 
such a representation of the Catholic doctrine as is given 
by thoroughgoing opponents — by Martineau, e.g., in the 
following horrible sentences, occurring in an account of the 
orthodox views of the crucifixion as understood by him: 
" The anguish He endures is not chiefly that which falls 
so poignantly on the eye and ear of the spectator; the in- 
jured human affections, the dreadful momentary doubt; 
the pulses of physical torture doubling on Him with full or 
broken wave, till driven back by the overwhelming power 
of love disinterested and divine. But He is judicially 
abandoned by the infinite Father, who expends on Him 
the immeasurable wrath due to an apostate race, gathers 
up into an hour the lightnings of eternity, and lets them 
loose upon that bended head. It is the moment of retri- 
butive justice, the expiation of all human guilt; that open 
brow hides beneath it the despair of millions of men, and 
to the intensity of agony there, no human wail could give 
expression. Meanwhile the future brightens on the elect; 
the tempests that hung over their horizon are spent. The 

' Schutzschriften, Zweiter Sliick. pp. 94, 95. The Schriftbeweis gave rise to 
considerable controversy in Germany, in the course of which Hofmann replied to 
his opponents, and gave important explanations on some points of his system. 
These replies were published, as a collection of pamphlets, under the title 
Schutzschriften . 

2 It is adopted also by Van Oosterzee, who quotes with approval the passage in 
which it is taught in the Heidelberg Catechism. Vid. The Image of Christ, p. 254. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 341 

vengeance of the Lawgiver having had its way, the sunshine 
of a Father's grace breaks forth, and lights up with hope 
and beauty the earth, which had been a desert of despair 
and sin." 1 Bear in mind the two axioms already enunci- 
ated, that Christ was at no time the object of His Father's 
personal displeasure, but suffered only the signs — the effect, 
not the affection — of divine anger; and that He suffered 
these signs in one form or another, not for an hour, but for 
a lifetime; and the force of the above passage, as a refuta- 
tion, by mere statement, of the orthodox doctrine, is at 
once seen to be broken. 

But does the orthodox doctrine not preclude us from 
adopting these axioms, especially the former of the two ? — 
Does not the dogma of satisfaction imply that Christ suf- 
fered in sinners' stead the very thing that they should have 
suffered — that is to say, real positive, unqualified damna- 
tion, utter separation from God in spiritual death, nay, 
even eternal death itself? It suits the opponents of the 
dogma to say so. Thus Ritschl affirms that the assump- 
tion that Christ experienced, at least momentarily, eternal 
damnation, is the inevitable condition of the satisfactory 
value of His sufferings before the judgment of God; 2 and 
Socinus, to whose views on the whole subject of Christ's 
work those of Ritschl bear too close a resemblance, sought 
to involve the orthodox position in hopeless contradiction, 
by maintaining that while, on the one hand, the end for 
which the Saviour died — viz. the salvation of men — de- 
manded that He should rise from the dead unto eternal 
life; the dogma of satisfaction, on the other hand, demanded 
that He should endure, not intensively merely, but exten- 
sively, eternal death. 3 The assumption on which both 
virtually proceed is, that the satisfaction required is of a 
pecuniary character, sin being conceived of as a debt which 
can be cancelled only by the endurance of suffering equal 
in amount to that due to sinners, or at least of the same 
quality and value. It must be acknowledged that the 

1 Studies of Christianity, p. 86. 

* Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung tmd VersOhnung, Li. p. 416. 
3 De Servatore*, pars tertia, c. iv. : Haec enim satisfactio, in eo, qui nos serva 
turns est, aeternam mortem; ista autem nos servandi ratio aeternam vitam requirit. 



342 The Humiliation of Christ. 

defenders of the dogma have too often weakened theif 
position by virtually conceding this assumption to their 
opponents, and arguing as if they were under an obligation 
to make out not only a moral equivalence in respect of 
value, but so close a resemblance in the nature or quality 
of Christ's sufferings as amounts to a virtual identity. 
Thus, e.g., Van Mastricht labours to prove that Christ 
endured death in all senses; not only death temporal, but 
death spiritual and eternal; l and indeed many dogmatists, 
both of the Lutheran and of the Reformed confessions, 
laid down the position that Christ experienced eternal 
death intensive though not extensive'; though some, as e.g. 
Gerhard, shrank from the statement in this bald form, 
assigning as a reason why the Saviour could not endure 
eternal death, that He was personally the most innocent 
and most beloved Son of God. Sometimes the matter was 
put in this way, that our Lord suffered the essence, apart 
from the accidents, of eternal death; the accidents being 
remorse, despair, and the like. 3 In going into these lines 
of thought, the defenders of orthodoxy went off the right 
track; for, as Dr. Charles Hodge has pointed out, there is a 
more excellent way — that, viz., of emphasizing the dis- 
tinction between the nature and the design of Christ's 
sufferings. It is a mistake to suppose that the doctrine of 
satisfaction requires these sufferings to be the same even in 
kind, not to speak of degree, as the sufferings of those 
whom Christ died to redeem. "The words 'penal' and 
'penalty,'" to quote the well-weighed language of the 
American divine just referred to, " do not designate any 
particular kind or degree of suffering, but any kind or any 
degree which is judicially inflicted in satisfaction of justice. 
The word ' death,' as used in Scripture to designate the 
wages or reward of sin, includes all kinds and degrees of 
suffering inflicted as its punishment. By the words ' penal ' 
and ' penalty,' therefore, we express nothing concerning 
the nature of the sufferings endured, but only the design of 
their infliction." ' The same views are expressed with equal 

' Theoretico-praetica Theologia, lib. v. cap. xii. §§ vi.-ix. 

? Vid. Appendix, Note C. 

3 Systematic Theology, vol. ii. p 474. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 313 

point and clearness by another American theologian of 
the same name, Dr. Archibald Hodge: " He (Christ) did 
not render a pecuniary satisfaction, and therefore did not 
suffer the same degree nor duration, nor in all respects the 
same kind of sufferings, which the law would have inflicted 
on the sinner in person. . . . The substitution of a divine 
for a human victim necessarily involved a change in the 
quality, though none whatever in the legal relations of the 
suffering." 1 Again: " We say that Christ suffered the very 
penalty of the law, not because He suffered in the least the 
same kind, much less the same degree, of suffering as was 
penally due those for whom He acted, because that is not 
at all necessary to the idea of penalty." 2 When this dis- 
tinction between the design and the nature of our Lord's 
sufferings is grasped, it protects us from the temptation to 
which the older dogmaticians partly yielded, of reasoning 
deductively from the supposed requirements of a theory as 
to what these sufferings must have been, and leaves us free 
to inquire with unbiassed mind what the Scriptures repre- 
sent them actually to have been. Instead of starting with 
the assumption, that the thing demanded was the exact 
pound of flesh, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, we 
are content to learn from the word of God wherein the 
satisfying virtue and value of the atonement consisted; 
remembering that the authoritative estimate of the virtue 
and the value lies, not with us, but with the unerring judg- 
ment of the all-wise God, and that while the divine estimate, 
as ascertained from Scripture, may approve itself to our 
minds and consciences afterhand, it may yet in some 
respects be different from what we should have conjectured 
beforehand, or from the a priori determinations of system- 
atic theology. This attitude, it will be observed, is not to 
be confounded with that of those who, with Duns Scotus, 
make the acceptance of Christ's death by God, as a satis- 
faction for sin, a mere affair of arbitrary will or divine 
caprice. The theory of acceptilation, as it is called, 
recognises no standard by which the value of the atonement 
can be determined, and represents God as simply choosing 

1 The Atonement, by Rev. Archibald A. Hodge, D.D., p. 28. 
* Ibid. p. 36. 



344 The Humiliation of Christ. 

to ascribe infinite worth to that which, in reality, had 
only a limited worth. The doctrine now contended for, 
on the contrary, is that the atonement rendered by Christ 
has the value of a sufficient satisfaction for the sin of the 
world, as determined by intelligible moral considerations, 
as opposed to mere caprice; only it makes the standard 
depend, not on man's judgment, in the first place, but on 
the infallible judgment of divine wisdom. 

Looking, then, into the Scriptures with unbiassed mind, 
in order to find out the elements of value in our Lord's 
atoning work, as estimated by the wisdom of the omniscient 
Spirit, we observe that emphasis is laid on at least four 
things: first, the dignity of the Sufferer; second, His obe- 
dience to His Father's will; tJiird, His love to sinners; and 
fourth, His sufferings themselves. The divine dignity of 
the Sufferer is pointed at as an important factor in the de- 
termination of the value of His atoning work in various 
places, as in the famous passage in Paul's Epistle to the 
Philippians, so often alluded to in these Lectures, where it 
is noted that He who was obedient unto death was One 
who had been in the form of God; and where Christ is 
spoken of as offering Himself unto God by the eternal 
Spirit; 1 and yet again, where the heinous nature of the 
sin of apostasy is indicated, by representing the apostate 
as trampling under foot the Son of God, and counting His 
blood, the blood of the new covenant, a common thing. s 
These passages imply that the divine dignity of Christ 
gives to His death infinite worth, eternal validity as a 
sacrifice, inexpressible sacredness. Socinus objected to 
this element being taking into account, as making God a 
respecter of persons. 8 The objection is utterly frivolous; 
for nothing is more evident to common sense, than that in 
a penal, as distinct from a pecuniary satisfaction, the person 
of the substitute comes into consideration as affecting the 
value of his performance. When a sum of money is due, it 
has to be paid in full, no matter by whom. When what is 
required is reparation of an injury done to the law by a 
moral offence, the imprisonment for a limited period of a 

1 Ileb. ix. 14. 2 Heb. x. 29. 

3 De Servatore, pars tertia, cap. iv. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 345 

prince may be equivalent to the incarceration of a plebeian 
for life. The other argument of Socinus, against taking the 
dignity of Christ into account — that if it were allowed, it 
would involve a charge of cruelty against God in subject- 
ing His Son to more suffering than there was need for — is 
equally frivolous. 1 It does not follow, because the dignity 
is to be taken into account, that therefore the suffering may 
be reduced to a form, a mere bowing of the head, so to 
speak, by the way of obeisance to the law which governs 
the world. In that case there might be room for a charge 
of partiality. To exclude such a possibility, and to show 
that the law's claims were being earnestly dealt with, it 
was needful that the sin-bearer, though divine, should 
endure all that it was possible for a holy Being to suffer in 
the way of penalty. 

That the holiness or obedience of Christ enters as an ele- 
ment into the estimate of value, is taught by clear implica- 
tion in those words of the Apostle Peter, where he reminds 
his readers that they have been redeemed, not with cor- 
ruptible things, such as silver and gold, but by the precious 
blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without 
spot? The same truth is taught in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, where the offering by Christ of His body in 
sacrifice is represented as the climax and consummation of 
His obedience to God's will. 3 In this text the passion of 
the Saviour is conceived of as having its value, in being an 
act of obedience which formed the crown of a life of obedi- 
ence. Herein, according to the writer of the Epistle, lay 
the incomparable merit of Christ's sacrifice, as opposed to 
the legal sacrifices, wherein the blood-shedding of involun- 
tary brute-victims had only a ritual and no ethical signi- 
ficance. What pleased God was not the mere fact that the 
blood of His Son was shed. To imagine such a thing were 
to fall back into Jewish ritualism, and to put the offering 
on Calvary on a level with the offering of bulls and goats. 
To quote the words of Turretine, " the satisfaction is not to 
be ascribed merely to the external oblation of blood, but 
specially to the internal act — that is, to the free and 

1 De Servatore, pars tertia, cap. iv. 

s i Pet. i. 18-, 19. 3 Heb. x. 4-10. 



346 The Humiliation of Christ. 

most stedfast will of Christ — by which we are said to be 
sanctified." ' 

Prominence is given to the element of love to the sinful, 
as entering into the divine estimate of the value of Christ's 
sacrifice, by the Apostle Paul in the familiar text: " Walk 
in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Him- 
self for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet- 
smelling savour." 2 Here the beautiful thought is suggested, 
that the love to the sinful, manifested by Christ in dying 
for them, made His death well-pleasing to His Father, as- 
cending up to heaven as a sweet savour, like the smoke of 
sacrificial victims from the altar of burnt-offering. This is 
poetry; but it is also sound theology, as Aquinas recog- 
nised when he spake of the passion of the Saviour as having 
value in God's sight, not only on account of the diginity of 
the Sufferer and the severity of His sufferings, but very 
specially on account of the greatness of the love which 
moved Him to suffer — propter magnitudinem charitatis .* 
And it is not unimportant to remark here, that when 
we regard "the magnitude of the charity" as an element 
of value, we see at once that the amount of suffering could 
not be other than great; for if we should be ready to accept 
as strictly true the sentiment on which the doctrine of sat- 
isfactio supcrabundans is based, that the smallest amount 
of suffering endured by such an august Being, even the 
shedding of a single drop of His blood, would have sufficed 
to satisfy divine justice, it is certain that it would not have 
sufficed to satisfy the Saviour's own love. For the grati- 
fication of its own yearning, as also to ensure a return of 
the greatest possible amount of grateful love for those 

1 Institutio, vol. ii. p. 394, locus decimus quartus, quaestio xiii, sec. xii.: Et 
satisfactio non externae tantum sanguinis oblationi adscribenda est, sed praecipue 
actui interno, nimirum spontaneae ejus et constantissimae voluntati, qua sanctificari 
dicimur. 

- Eph. v. 2. 

3 Summa, pars tertia, q. xlviii. art. ii. : Christus autem ex charitate et obedientia 
patiendo majus aliquid Deo exhibuit quam exi^eret recompensatio totius offensae 
huraani generis: primo quidem propter magnitudinem charitatis ex qua patiebatur. 
He gives as his r,econd and third reasons: (2) Propter dignitatem vitae suae, quae 
erat vita Dei et hominis, (3) propter generalitatem passionis et magnitudinem 
doloris assumpti. On these grounds Aquinas based his doctrine of satisfactio 
supcrabundans . 



The Humiliation of CJirist in its Official Aspect. 347 

/eceiving the benefit, that love would be content with 
nothing short of enduring all that it was barely possible foi 
a sinless Being to experience in the way of suffering. 1 

Yet the statements of Scripture, in speaking of Christ's 
sufferings, are characterized by a dignified sobriety. No- 
where can we discover the slightest tendency to exaggera- 
tion or straining, either in support of a theory, or with a 
view to rhetorical effect. Sometimes the mere fact that 
Christ died is mentioned, as when Paul, summing up the 
gospel he had preached to the Corinthians, specifies as one 
item, "how that Christ died for our sins according to the 
Scriptures;" and as when, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
Jesus is spoken of as crowned with glory and honour, that 
He by the grace of God might taste death for every man;' 
and even where the connection of thought required the in- 
spired writers to exhibit the sufferings of the Saviour in as 
intense a light as possible, their statements are not so 
strong as one accustomed to the dogmatic style of treat- 
ment might expect or desiderate. The writer of the Epis- 
tle to the Hebrews, when he would commend Jesus as the 
pattern of patience, says of Him simply, that He "endured 
the cross, despising the shame." Paul, when he would ex- 
hibit the humility of Christ in its utmost depth of self-abase- 
ment, indicates the limit of descent by the phrase, " obedi- 
ent unto death, even the death of the cross." It did not 
occur to him to say, " even death spiritual," or " even death 
eternal," or " even the death of the damned." It may 
safely be concluded that such extreme phrases are not 
required for a correct statement of the true doctrine, and 
that it will suffice to say in general terms that Christ 
suffered in body and soul all that it was possible for a holy 
being to suffer. This general statement leaves the question 
open, whether the personal holiness of Christ did not fix 
a limit beyond which His experience of suffering could not 
go, even as it set bounds to His experience of temptation. 
That it did fix such a limit seems beyond question. To 
speak of the holy One of God as enduring spiritual and 
eternal death, is surely a gross and mischievous abuse of 
terms ! Instead of following the example of Protestant 

1 Vid. Appendix, Note D. « Heb. ii. 9. 



34-8 The Humiliation of Christ. 

scholastic theologians in the use of such expressions, we 
ought rather to regard such use as an instructive illustra- 
tion of the danger to which the dogmatic spirit exposes us 
of wresting Scripture, and manufacturing facts in support 
of a preconceived theory. Happily all theologians have not 
yielded to the temptation in connection with the present 
topic, some having handled it with due care, caution, and 
discrimination: among whom the American divines already 
named deserve honourable mention, 1 but foremost of all, 
the great Transatlantic theologian of last century, President 
Edwards, whose statement on the question, in what sense 
Christ suffered the wrath of God, deserves and will repay 
the most attentive study of all who desire to think justly 
on the delicate theme. 2 

Summing up, then, the elements of value in our Lord's 
atoning death as inductively ascertained from Scripture, 
we get this formula, expressed in mathematical language, 
though the thing to be estimated is a moral quantity not 
admitting of mathematical measurement: The value of 
Christ's sacrifice was equal to His divine dignity, multiplied 
by His perfect obedience, multiplied by His infinite love, 
multiplied by suffering in body and soul carried to the utter- 
most limit of what a sinless being could experience. That 
is to say, in forming an estimate of the fitness of that sacri- 
fice to satisfy justice, we must bear in mind from what a 
height the Priest who offered it descended, the spirit of filial 
obedience in which the self-emptied One fulfilled His 
ministry after He had assumed the form of a servant, the 
mind of lowly love to the sinful which brought Him down 
from heaven, and made Him willing to descend as near 
hell as was barely possible; and finally, the curriculum of 
suffering through which He passed in His state of humili- 
ation, terminating in the cross, with its pain and shame, 
and gloom and desolation. All these things the First 

1 Vid. Systematic Theology, vol. ii. p. 614; and The Atonement, cap. v. Mr. 
Dale can hardly be reckoned among this class. He insists on taking Christ's com- 
plaint of desertion in the most literal sense, and represents the Redeemer as en- 
during that loss of fellowship with the divine blessedness, that exile from the joys 
of God's presence, which is the effect of the Divine wrath in the case ot the impen- 
itent. — The Atonement, p. 61, 7th edition. 

2 Vid. Appendix, Note E. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 349 

Cause and Last End of all took into account; and, taking 
them into account, He was well pleased with His Son's per- 
formance. All these things we, too, are to take into ac- 
count, in endeavouring to say Amen to the divine judgment 
concerning the sacrifice offered on Calvary. And when we 
have duly weighed them all, we find the saying of a cordial 
Amen no hard matter. A mediaeval mystic gave utter- 
ance to the striking thought, that in order to the fulness 
of the satisfaction it was necessary that there should be as 
great humiliation in the expiation as there was presump- 
tion in the transgression. 1 That requirement is met by 
the Scripture doctrine, for it was One in the form of God 
who stooped to die. The other elements of value com- 1 
mend themselves equally to our minds. When we learra 
that Christ's obedience to God and His love to man enter 
into the worth of His sacrifice, we no longer rebel against 
the doctrine as one of immoral tendency, putting salva- 
tion within the reach of selfish men who simply regard 
Christ as their substituted victim; for we perceive that a 
spiritual appreciation of the ethical value of the atonement 
as a manifestation of the Redeemer's holiness and love is 
of the essence of faith in Him as the Saviour. Then, finally, 
the doctrine commends itself to our consciences in this, 
that while giving due prominence to these moral elements, 
it does not trifle with the penal aspect of the question, but 
represents the Saviour as undergoing suffering limited only 
by His inviolable holiness, limited in one direction only to 
be enhanced in others. 

How different the moral effect of the scriptural formula, 
as above ascertained, from that produced by any formula 
intended to make out an atonement sufficient in respect of 
the mathematical quantum of suffering as the all-important 
matter, such an one, e.g., as that proposed by Philippi ! 

1 Richard of St. Victor, De Verbo Incarnato, cap. viii. Richard uses the 
thought as an argument for the divinity of Christ. His words are: Ad plenitu- 
dinem autem satisfactionis oportuit ut tanta esset humiliatio in expiatione quanta 
fuerat praesumptio in praevaricatione. Rationalis autem substantiae J)eus tenet 
summum, homo vera imum. Quando ergo homo praesumpsit contra Deum, facta 
est elatio de imo ad summum. Oportuit ergo ut ad expiationis remedium fieret 
humiliatio de summo ad imum, sed hoc omnino non potuit nisi aliqua in Trinitate 
person arum. 



2>5o The Humiliation of Christ. 

Christ, according to this modern expounder of old Luther- 
an orthodoxy, suffered eternal death as fully and as really 
as the damned, the only difference being that He, as God, 
was able to suffer intensively, in a brief space of time, 
what the weak capacity of ordinary human nature re- 
quires to be extended, in the case of the damned, over an 
unending period of time. In this way the eternal death 
endured by Christ intensively was strictly equal to the 
eternal death endured inextenso by any one sinner. Then 
the impersonality of Christ's human nature is brought in as 
a factor, by which the eternal death of Christ is made equal 
to the sum of the eternal deaths, actual or possible, of all 
mankind. To the Socinian objection, that even if it be ad- 
mitted that Christ could endure eternal death, yet at most 
He endured only one eternal death, while ex iiypothesi there 
ware as many eternal deaths to endure as there are single 
human individuals, this theologian reckons it a good reply 
to say, that Christ did not endure eternal death as a single 
common man, as one among many, but as the God-man, 
" who weighs more than all;" the point intended to be in- 
sisted on by the phrase within inverted commas being, not 
the dignity of the sufferer, but the impersonality of His hu- 
manity in virtue of which He is Man, not an individual 
man: manhood multiplied by Godhead was to make His 
humanity, not ethically, but metaphysically, equal to the 
sum of individuals bearing human nature. Thus the re- 
sulting formula is, divine capacity of suffering multiplied by 
the impersonality, multiplied by the intensively endured 
eternal death, equals the sum of the eternal deaths endur- 
able in extenso of all the damned, and of all those liable to 
damnation. 1 A revolting equation, at once metaphysically 
inconceivable and morally offensive, degrading the suffer- 
ings of the Redeemer into a mere literal quid pro quo, and 
exhibiting His atoning death in the aspect least fitted to 
show forth the divine glory, to satisfy human consciences, 
or to become a moral power over human hearts. They 
are not the friends of a great truth, who present it in so re- 
pulsive a form. Even in the scholastic period of Protes- 
tant orthodoxy, Cotta, the learned editor of Gerhard's Loci, 
1 Kirchliche Glaubenslehre, Theil iv. 2:e Ilalfie. \> j2. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 2,5 1 

while claiming for himself the character of a sound Luther- 
an, yet found it necessary to explain that it must be taken 
with a grain of salt when theologians teach that Christ 
suffered in His soul infernal pains; and that the statement 
must be understood to refer, not to the very pains which the 
damned experience, but rather to the gravity of His pains, 
which can be compared with that of infernal torments. 1 
Modern Lutherans of the Philippi type seem bent on serving 
up to their contemporaries a rechauffe" of antiquated opin- 
ions, without the grain of salt deemed by Cotta necessary 
to make them palatable; with what result it is not diffi- 
cult to foresee. 

When the Redeemer breathed out His soul on the cross, 
His humiliation had reached its climax, if it did not then 
take end. The interval between death and the resurrection 
the Reformed confessions reckon to the state of exinanition; 
but they view it simply as a natural sequel to the death, 
and speak of it soberly as consisting in Christ's continuing 
under the power of death for a time. This sobriety has not 
been imitated by all theologians. What took place during 
the time when the Saviour's body rested in the tomb, has 
been the subject of an immense amount of curious and un- 
profitable speculation, based on a few obscure texts of 
Scripture. Into the ghostly questions relating to the tri- 
duum I have no space to enter, and, I must in honesty add, 
small inclination. To this dark region may be applied the 
word of prophecy concerning Babylon in ruins, " Owls shall 
dwell there." Instead, therefore, of flitting about like a 
theological night-bird in the territory of the dead, where 
nothing can be distinctly seen or known, I shall conclude 
this lecture with a brief summary of the theories concern- 
ing Christ's redeeming work, to which, in its course, I have 
had occasion to allude. One advantage which has come 
to us unsought from the study of that work from our chosen 

1 Cotta's words are: Atque ex his, quae modo diximur, satis patet. cum grano 
salis accipiendum esse quando theologi protestantes docent Christum inanima sua 
dolores infernales passum esse. Neque enim hoc de iis ipsis doloribus quos dam- 
nati experiuntur, sed potius de gravitate dolorum, qui cum infernalibus comparari 
possunt, intelligendum est. (Vid. Dissertatio secunda. De stations et officio 
Chris ti mediatorio.) 



3^2 The Humiliation of Christ. 

point of view, is the suggestion of a method of classifying 
theories of atonement or redemption. The value of a good 
method of classification in all departments of knowledge is 
universally acknowledged. When classification is wholly 
neglected, science degenerates into mere fact-knowledge, 
devoid of intellectual interest; when the classification is 
defective, facts are wrongly assorted, resemblances being 
overlooked, and differences unduly magnified, or vice versd. 
These evils are not without exemplification in the present 
department of knowledge. The recent literature on the 
doctrine of atonement presents reviews of theories more or 
less elaborate, in many respects valuable, yet less instruc- 
tive than they might have been, because the theories criti- 
cised are simply enumerated in an almost casual order, and 
opinions of certain writers are noticed as distinct theories, 
which are in reality simple varieties of one and the same 
theory * 

The scheme of classification put into our hands as the 
spontaneous result of the inquiries in which we have been 
engaged in this lecture is as follows: — 

1. Christ, we have seen, suffered as a prophet for right- 
eousness' sake, and there is a theory which regards His 
sufferings solely from this point of view. On this theory, 
our Lord's sufferings, including His death, were simply in- 
cidental to His prophetic office, as exercised in this evil 
world; and their redemptive power lies in this, that they 
exhibit Christ as a fellow-combatant for truth and right, 
and show us that fellowship with God is independent of 
outward happiness, and so prevent our peace of mind from 
being disturbed by the mistaken notion that all suffering is 
on account of sin. This is substantially the view held in 
common by Socinus, Robertson, and Ritschl. It may be 
distinguished as the prophetic theory. 

2. Christ, we have seen, as a priest acting for men before 
God, needed to have an experience fitted to develop and 
reveal sympathy, and so to gain the confidence of those 
whom He represents. There is a theory which looks on 
the sympathy of Christ manifested in a suffering, sorrow- 

1 This remark applies, to a certain extent, to the work of Professor Crawfoid. 



The Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 353 

ful experience, as the whole of His performance, and the 
source of all His redeeming power. In this theory suffering 
is not an incident, but a chief end of the Incarnation. Christ 
not only suffered inevitably by coming into contact with 
the evil of the world, but came into the world for the ex- 
press purpose of revealing divine love through self-sacrifice 
carried to its utmost limit, in order to gain moral influence 
over men for their spiritual good. This view was first 
formally propounded by Abelard, and its most distinguished 
modern expounder is Bushnell. It may be named the 
sympathetic theory. 

3. Christ, we have seen, as the priestly representative 
of men before God, performs acts which have validity for 
the whole community: the one sanctifying the whole. We 
have seen also that, under a certain aspect, Christ's priestly 
action may legitimately be regarded as including Himself. 
Now there is a theory which holds that Christ's priestly 
activity in its whole compass, and under all its aspects, is 
inclusive of Himself; that He does nothing for us which 
He does not do for Himself; that whatever He does for us, 
He does by first doing it for Himself; that He sanctifies the 
whole lump of humanity by sanctifying Himself as the 
first-fruits. On this theory, Christ's death is simply the 
crown of a life of obedience, in which He maintained an 
absolutely unbroken fellowship with His Father, and pre- 
sented the ideal which all believers must strive to have 
realized in themselves. This view many of the Fathers 
entertained, without intending it as an exhaustive account 
of Christ's work; and in modern times it has been advocated 
as the true theory of redemption under various forms, by 
Schleiermacher, Irving, and Maurice. It may be called the 
theory of redemption by sample. 

4. Christ, we have seen, was not only a priest, but a 
sacrificial victim; in the latter capacity acting not as a 
representative, but a substitute, bearing the world's sin 
imputed to Him, that sinners might be made the righteous- 
ness of God in Him. In connection with this branch of our 
subject we found it convenient to distinguish a twofold 
imputation — a subjective imputation of sin to Christ by Him- 
self, and an objective imputation of sin to Him by the First 



3^4 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Cause and Last End of all. The former sort of imputation 
we found recognised by parties who deny the latter; their 
theory being, that Christ imputed to Himself, as a partaker 
of humanity, the world's sin, to the extent of making a 
sorrowful confession of it, which was accepted by God as a 
confession by humanity, and therefore as a ground of for- 
giveness. This theory assumes that it is not necessary, in 
order to pardon, that the penalty of sin be endured, ade- 
quate confession of sin being an alternative method of satis- 
fying the claims of divine holiness. Its principal, we may 
almost say its sole, advocate is M'Leod Campbell. It may 
be distinguished as the theory of redemption by Christ's 
self-imputation of sin, or, by perfect confession of sin. 

5. The fifth and last theory is the Catholic one of redemp- 
tion by substitute, which, in addition to the subjective im- 
putation of sin to Himself by Christ, and to the imputation 
of sin to Him by believers in their prayers and praises, both 
admitted by those who take exception to the received 
doctrine, 1 teaches, over and above, a corresponding objective 
imputation of sin to the Redeemer by the Supreme Ruler 
of the world, the ground at once of Christ's action in im- 
puting human sin to Himself, of our action in imputing our 
sins to Him, and of God's action in imputing righteousness 
to us. This theory, like the rest, has assumed various 
forms in the hands of its advocates; some exaggerating 
the penalty endured by Christ as the sin-bearer, with a 
view to mathematical identity, supposed to be required 
by the principle on which the theory is based; others atten- 
uating the penalty to a mere symbol or form; while others, 
again, have striven to steer a medium course between two 
extremes, laying emphasis not on the quantity or the quality 
of the Saviour's sufferings, but on their design; yet pointing 
out, in the interest both of divine justice and of divine love, 
that these sufferings went to the utmost limit of what it 
was possible for a holy being to endure. 

While advocating the last-named theory, still entitled 
by comparison to be called the Catholic, I have not found 
it necessary to repudiate as utterly false all those preced- 
ing. I have been able to recognise each in succession as a 

1 See Bushnell, The Vicarious Sacrifice, p. 450 to the end. 



1 



lie Humiliation of Christ in its Official Aspect. 355 



fragment of the truth, one aspect of the many-sided wis- 
dom of God revealed in the earthly ministry of His eternal 
Son. In this fact I find great comfort, with reference both 
to my own theological position on this great theme, and 
to that of many who occupy a different position. For, on 
the one hand, it is a presumption in favour of the Catholic 
doctrine, that it does not require to negative rival theories, 
except in so far as they are exclusive and antagonistic; 
and, on the other hand, one may hope that theories which 
have been a partial truth will bless their advocates by the 
truth that is in them, connecting them in some way with 
Him who is the fountain of life, and initiating a process of 
spiritual development which will carry thern on to higher 
things. It is not impossible, it is not even uncommon, to 
grow to Catholic orthodoxy from the meagrest, even from 
Socinian, beginnings. Such was the way in which the 
apostles themselves, the first inspired authoritative teachers 
of the faith, attained to the elevated view-point from which 
they surveyed Christ's work on earth, when they had reached 
the position in the Church which their Lord designed them 
to occupy. Their first lesson in the doctrine of the cross 
did not rise above the watchword of the Socinian theory: 
" the righteous One suffering for righteousness' sake, and 
setting therein an example to all His disciples;" and not 
till long after, did they attain insight into the meaning of 
the baptismal name given by the Baptist to Jesus: "The 
Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." Let 
this fact ever be borne in mind by all to whom that name is 
fraught with peace and provocative of ardent love, and it 
will help them to maintain an attitude of patience, hope, 
and charity towards many who reject with determined un- 
belief, yea, with bitter scorn, truths dear to their own 
hearts. 



APPENDIX. 



LECTURE I. 

Note A.— Page 15. 

It is not my intention to attempt a complete history «rff 
the interpretation of this famous passage, which has occu- 
pied the thoughts of commentators and theologians in all 
ages. Those who desire full information on the history o-f 
opinion may consult, besides the leading commentaries,. 
Tholuck's Disputatio Christologica de loco Pauli Ep. ad Phil. 
c. ii. 6-9, or Ernesti's monograph on the same passage in 
the Theologische Studienund Kritiken (1848, viertes Heft), im 
which the various methods of interpreting the passage are 
carefully classified, and an attempt made to explain it by 
the hypothesis of an allusion being intended by the apostle 
to the second and third chapters of Genesis. What I pro- 
pose here is simply to jot down a few notes on particular 
expressions, and first on the phrase, hv uop<p$ Qeov. 

What is signified by nopcprj &eov ? The Fathers, as is 
stated in the text, generally took uop<pi} as equivalent to 
q>v6iz, their anxiety being to find in the passage an unequiv- 
ocal testimony to the divinity of Christ. The only excep- 
tion is Hilary, who vacillates on the point, as also on the 
question closely bound up therewith: whether the forma 
Dei was renounced or retained in the state of humiliation. 
In some places Hilary follows the ordinary patristic view, 
and in others he departs from it. A full list of the relative 
passages, and an instructive discussion of their import, will 
be found in Thomasius, Christi Person and Werk, ii. pp. 174- 
189. Thomasius thus states the fact as to Hilary's opinion: 
" Usually he distinguishes strictly between forma servi and 
forma Dei, as in ix. 14 {De Trimtate), and also between 



360 The Humiliation of Christ. 

human nature and forma servi. Forma Dei is for him the 
glory-form of God, the form of appearance which belongs 
to the Son, in virtue of His likeness in essence to the 
Father. Forma et vultus et facies et imago non differunt, 
De Trin. viii. 44, 45. It is the stamp of the characteristic 
expression and impression (Aus- und Abdruck) of the God- 
head of the Father: quod signatum in Dei forma est, hoc ne- 
cesse est totum in se coimaginatum habere quod Dei est; on 
the other hand, forma servi is the habitus Jiumanus, forma 
Ziomiuis, liumilitas; not, however, so as if the appearing 
form were abstracted from the essence, but both go to- 
gether in Hilary's view: the human nature in its earthly 
limited definiteness, the divine nature in the form of mani- 
festation essential to it. Therefore speaks he thus at one 
time: The evacnatio forma Dei is not evacaatio naturae, sub- 
stantiae; at another time: ut vero assumpsisse formam servi 
nihil aliud est, quam hominem natum esse, ita in forma Dei 
esse non aliud est, quam Deum esse; therefore he speaks 
now of a real renunciation of the forma Dei in the incarna- 
tion, the contrast to which is interitus naturae; and anon de- 
clares that the forma Dei preserved itself, to a certain 
extent, in the evacuatio, in which case the forma is identi- 
fied with the essence" (p. 174). Among the principal 
passages bearing on Hilary's opinions on the two con- 
nected questions as to the meaning of forma Dei, and 
the retention or renunciation of the forma Dei in the state 
of exinanition, are the following. I place first those which 
imply a distinction between form and nature, and an ex- 
change of divine form for human form in the state of 
humiliation. De Trinitate, ix. 51: Dei forma jam non erat, 
quia per ejus exinanitionem servi erat forma suscepta. 
Neque enim defecerat natura, ne esset; sed in se humilita- 
tem terrenae nativitatis manens sibi Dei natura susceperat, 
generis sui potestatem in habitu assumptae humilitatis ex- 
ercens. ix. 38: Exinaniens se igitur ex Dei forma, servi 
formam natus susceperat, sed hanc carnis assumptionem 
ea, cum qua. sibi naturalis unitas erat, Patris natura, non 
senserat. viii. 45: Exinanivit se ex Dei forma, id est ex eo 
quod aequalis Deo erat. On the other side, inclining to 
the ordinary patristic view, are the following passages: — 



Appendix. — Lecture I. — Note A. 301 

xi. 48; In forma Dei manens formam servi assumpsit, non 
demutatus, sed se ipsum exinaniens, et intra se latens. et 
intra suam ipse vacuefactus potestatem. Form is here 
taken as equal to nature, therefore it remains in the servile 
state, xii. 6: Christus enim in forma Dei manens formam 
servi accepit. . . . Esse autem in forma Dei non alia intel- 
ligentia est, quam in Dei manere uatura. Passing on to 
modern times, we find that the tendency among all interpre- 
ters, and specially those who regard the kenosis as con- 
sisting in an exchange of the form of God for the form of a 
servant, is to identify uop<p?j Qeov with the S6c,a to which 
Jesus alluded in His intercessory prayer (John xvii. 5). 
Thus Thomasius: "That i*-op<pr) is equivalent neither to 
ov6ia, nor to (pvdis, nor to status, but signifies its forma, 
the appearance with which anything shows itself, may 
be regarded as the common result of modern exegesis 
Mopcpr) Qeov is therefore, as Meyer expresses it, the condi- 
tion-form corresponding to the essence and exhibiting the 
condition (die Zustandsform, dem Wesen entsprechend und 
den Zustand darstellend), or, more strictly, the glory-form 
answering to the essence of God (die dem Wesen Gottes 
entsprechende Herrlichkeitsgestalt), or, as Wiesinger puts 
it, the glory of the divine form of existence, distinguished 
from the 5o|a (John xvii. 5), only thereby, that here the 
appearance of this glory before the world is conceived as in- 
cluded, as is evident from the contrast of nopcpr/ SovXov" (vol. 
ii. p. 150). Ebrard, however dissents from this view, and 
contends that Mopcprf and 86'ia are not to be identified. A6\a, 
he says, " is not=uopq>TJ Qeov, (a) in respect of the sense of 
the words. A6\a always denotes an outward glory an- 
swering to the inward essence, a concrete, never the im- 
mediate, existence-form of the essence itself. Form and 
HerrlicJikeit are very different even in German. [Ii] If it is 
said that 86£a is not indeed equivalent to uop<p^, but is equiv- 
alent to uopcprj Qeov; it signifies, not the abstract idea of ex- 
istence-form, but that definite existence-form which the 
Son had before the Incarnation, it must be said in reply, 
that John xvii. 22 is against this view, where Christ denotes 
His inner glory which He had not laid aside in the Incar- 
nation, and had given to the disciples by the term Sola, and 



362 The Humiliation of Christ. 

distinguishes it from the Sofa which He had laid aside, and is 
about to get back. A6%<x. is therefore not =/iop<pq 0eou, is 
not the name for this one definite existence-form, but is 
the name for every kind of glory. (V) Paul (Rom. viii. 17; 
Phil. ii. 9) denotes by the term 86£a the outer glory which 
forms the adequate appearance of an inner essence, i.e. the 
state of the glorification or transfiguration of the blessed at 
the resurrection, both of Christ and of believers. In John 
xvii. 5, 24, doqa similarly denotes the outer glory which 
Christ possessed before the Incarnation, and should again 
receive after His resurrection, the worship of angels, recog- 
nition as Head and Lord of the world. But in ver. 22 Sola 
is used to denote the inner glory which Christ never re- 
nounced. Nowhere is <5o'|a = existence-form." In accord- 
ance with this view, Erbrard assigns to ju°P<py &£ov, as dis- 
tinct from S6k<x, the specific meaning: divine, that is, eternal 
form of existence. This Christ parted with at the Incarna- 
tion, not only for a time, but forever. He exchanged once 
for all the eternal mode of existence for the time-form. 
He became and continues for ever man. See Christliche 
Dogmatik, vol. ii. 32-37. The view of Liebner is somewhat 
similar. He uses the expression juopcpt} SovAov as a clue to 
the meaning of the other contrasted phrase i-iopcpr) QeoD: 
"' The uopcprj SovXov signifies the human existence-form as a 
condition of dependence, the existence-form of the creature- 
l y ethico-religious personality. What, then, is the neces- 
Jary contrast which is expressed through the phrase uopcprj 
&eov? Nothing else than the existence-form of absolute 
independence, freedom, absolute personality." That is, in 
the uopcprj &eov the Son of God was not a servant of God, 
which He became when He assumed human nature, but an 
equal of God (vid. Christologie, p. 327). According to 
Nitzsch, the term uopcprj is used in reference to God, mainly 
because it is used in the next clause in reference to human- 
ity, to complete the parallelism of thought and language: 
"The direct occasion to use the word uopcprj lay more on 
the human than on the divine side, as it belongs to the 
essence of man to be an incorporated, sense-endowed, 
apparent, shaped, visible personality. But the human form 
has the God form for its natural antithesis." " The im- 



Appendix. — Lecture I. — Note A. 36 



o 



portant point," the author adds, "is this: Christ, who in 
the ground of His being is the Lord of glory, the Son of 
God, whose vocation it is to glorify the Father, and whom 
the Father purposes to glorify, in obedience to the Father, 
and in love to the Father, and to union with the human 
race, and to the glorifying of humanity and of the world along 
with Himself, emptied Himself of the brightness (Klarheif) 
which He had in Himself in entering into a human state of 
servitude " {System der Christlichen Lehre, p. 260). In affin- 
ity with Nitzsch's opinion stands that of Ernesti. " If," he 
remarks, " we are to understand by uopcp?} ©sov an outer 
appearance-form, shape, then arise these unanswerable 
questions: What is the specific form of God in which Christ 
found Himself in His pre-existence ? and, What is the 
specific form of a servant ? Is it that of men ? Angels 
also can be God's servants. We can therefore, in the de- 
scription of Christ by the phrase kv juopptf &sov vnapx^y, 
recognise only a pictorial expression (Phantasieausdruck) 
of the truth, that in His pre-existence He was more than a 
servant of God, as men are, v ids tov Qsov in an eminent 
sense, the ds6rspoi 6e6s of Philo, a pure light-reflection of 
God, atHMy tov &eov, and must give up the idea of making 
this pictorial expression conceptually clear, as also in Gen. 
iii. 2 the ysyovs gJ; eh v/.kSy cannot be made conceptually 
clear. In short, Christ, being originally more than man 
made in God's image, might with more plausibility than Adam 
have entertained the thought of acting automatically; but 
He denied Himself, renounced this moreness (Mehrseyns), 
would only be what man ought to be, a servant of God. 
Therefore He remained in conscious dependence on God, 
and made Himself like men. The first is the ovh dpnayfxov 
t)yr)6aro to eivai 16a Qe(S; the second, the savTov kxevoo6e " 
{Studien und Kritiken, 1848, pp. 912, 913). The parallelism 
between Christ's behaviour and Adam's, here hinted at and 
carried out in all particulars by Ernesti (Adam would be 
God, Christ renounces His Godlikeness; Adam suffered 
death as a doom, Jesus voluntarily; Adam incurred the 
divine curse, Jesus won the divine approval and a great re- 
ward, etc.), has not been approved by expositors, and 
seems far-fetched. His conception also of Christ's pre-ex- 



364 The Humiliation of Christ. 

istent state comes short of the standard of orthodoxy. But 
his view as to the meaning of ixopcpr^, or rather as to the impos- 
sibility of fixing its meaning in precise theological thought, 
deserves serious consideration. If any theological fixation 
of its meaning be possible, it must be looked for in the 
direction pointed out by Ebrard and Liebner; for, as Ebrard 
has shown, the term 86\<x hardly suffices to give the neces- 
sary definiteness. A similar remark may be made with ref- 
erence to the expression n\ov6ios c£y in 2 Cor. viii. 9. The 
word it\ov6io< suggests much, but specifies nothing; it points 
to a state very diverse from the impoverished condition of 
the Lord Jesus in His state of humiliation; but it gives us 
no inventory of the riches renounced, no indication of their 
nature. The term stimulates our imagination rather than 
informs our minds. We may put much meaning into it, ac- 
cording to our theological conception of what the Incarnation 
involved, but we cannot take much theology out of it by a 
reliable and legitimate process of exegesis. We may make 
the riches renounced, metaphysical, ethical, or eudamon- 
istic, or all three together. The best clue to the nature of 
the riches renounced, the glory foregone, the form laid 
aside, is the ^opq») dovXov, to which the j-ioptprf 0sov stands 
opposed. We have to consider what was involved in this 
servile state; and if we find that limitation of divine attri- 
butes, such as knowledge, exposure to temptation, liability 
to the curse pronounced on man for sin, hardships supply- 
ing severe tests of obedience, were all involved in it, and 
necessary to its completeness and thoroughness, — then 
we may infer that the uopcpt} Osov forms a contrast to the 
nop<pi] SovXov in all these respects: in respect to divine attri- 
butes (metaphysical), in respect to divine exemption from 
moral trial, and in respect to divine felicity; the kenosis, 
of course, extending to all, in whatever sense the kenosis 
is to be taken, whether as absolute or as relative. 
I 2. Having discussed at length the expression uopyri Osov, 
it will not be necessary to enter into much additional de- 
tail on the correlate expression nopcpn SovXov, having al- 
ready anticipated much that relates thereto. In patristic 
literature ^opq>t} SovXov signifies human nature, as nop<pn Gsou 
signifies divine nature. Modern interpreters, on the other 



Appendix. — Lecture I. — Note A. 365 

hand, are generally agreed that the form of a servant 
is not to be immediately identified with human nature, 
but points to some attribute of human nature, either acci- 
dental or essential. Ebrard understands by the phrase, 
not human nature in its ideal integrity, but human nature 
as it stands under the consequences of sin. According to 
this view, the servant-form is something accidental. Lieb- 
ner gives to the phrase the meaning, the human existence- 
form, as one of dependence, according to which the attri- 
bute denoted is something essential to humanity; for it 
pertains to man, irrespective of sin, to be under law to God, 
to be God's servant. Meyer's interpretation is substantially 
the same. The servant-form signifies the position as a 
servant, not of one who serves in general (both God and 
man), or of one who serves others (as in Matt. xx. 28), or 
of one who is subject to the will of another (indefinitely), 
but specially of one who is the servant of God, this being 
manifestly implied in the contrast to kv jj.opqyy ©eov vnapx<*v- 
As a matter of mere interpretation, Meyer and Liebner are 
right; but Ebrard's view is theologically correct. The form 
of a servant is, in point of fact, the state of humanity as it 
is on earth, subject to death in consequence of sin (vid. 
Dogmatik, ii. p. 203). 

3. We come now, in the last place, to the puzzling clause, 
ovh apitayfidv tfyrfdaro. The question here is, In what sense 
is dpnayjuos to be understood ? this word being the key to 
the interpretation of the clause. Two quite different lines 
of interpretation have been followed by interpreters, one 
finding in the clause " the assertion," the other " the sur- 
render of privileges," as Canon Lightfoot pithily puts it 
{The Epistle of Paul to the Philip plans, 3d ed. p. 131). 
'Apnaynos being taken actively to denote plundering, usur- 
pation, robbery, the natural meaning of the clause is that 
given in our English version, following the Vulgate and 
the Latin Fathers, " thought it not robbery to be equal 
with God;" that is, was truly and by inherent right God's 
equal. This interpretation has the advantage, that it takes 
dpyray/ico? in its most natural sense; for certainly the termi- 
nation juos, as is generally conceded, suggests an active 
sense. But against it is the weighty consideration, that 



366 The Humiliation of Christ. 

the connection of thought requires another sense — viz. that 
borne by apnay^a, praeda, a piece of booty. What we ex- 
pect to find the apostle saying is, that Christ, being in the 
form of God, did not regard equality in state with God as 
a robber regards his booty, — viz. as a thing to be clutched 
greedily and held fast at all hazards, — but emptied Him- 
self. This accordingly was the view taken of the passage 
by many of the Greek Fathers, as Lightfoot in his excursus 
has shown; and this fact, by the way, may help us over the 
grammatical difficulty supposed to lie in the ending of the 
word aprcay/ioi. If the Greek Fathers had no scruple in 
rendering the word as if it had been apnayua, this may be 
held to prove that no hard and fast line separates the active 
from the passive form as to sense. Very many modern in- 
terpreters, accordingly, do render the word dpitayuoi as 
apnayjua, among whom may be mentioned Lightfoot, 
Ellicott, Alford, Tholuck, Liebner, Ebrard. The remarks 
of Ebrard on the passage are specially good. "To regard 
anything as booty," he says, " is an intensified double con- 
trast to a voluntary renunciation of something which 
rightfully belongs to oneself. The disposition of self-seek- 
ing regards even foreign property as welcome booty, much 
more that which it can rightfully claim. The disposition of 
love does not even regard its own lawful property as the 
robber regards his rapina, but freely gives it away " {Dog- 
matik, ii. 34). Meyer, while practically agreeing with the 
interpretation given in the text and by the foregoing com- 
mentators, yet endeavours to retain for dpnayuos its proper 
active signification. The word, he contends, signifies not 
praeda, Geraubtes, but actively taking prey, Rauben, Beute- 
■macJien. Therefore the clause must be interpreted thus: 
Not as a robbing regarded He the being equal with God, 
that is, not under the view-point of gaining booty did He 
place the same, as if in respect of His activity it amounted 
to this, that He appropriated that which did not belong to 
Him (" Demnach ist zu erklaren: nicht als ein Rauben 
betrachtete er das gottgleiche Sein. d. h. nicht unter den 
Gesichtspunkt des Beutemachens stellte er dasselbe, als 
sollte es hinsichtlich seiner Thatigkeits-ausserung ihm darin 
bestehen, dass er ihm nicht Eignendes an sich raffete." — 



Appendix. — Lecture I. — Note A. 367 

An die Philipper, p. 72). On this interpretation of Meyer's ; 
Tholuck remarks, comparing it with De Wette's: " Longe 
vere praestantior Meyeri interpretatio, ad quern si omnino 
dpTtayuoi solam potestatem actus rapiendi habet, palma 
loci feliciter expediti deferenda videtur. Meyerus enim, 
postquam discrimen inter sivai 16a Qew eivai lv /u>p<p% Osov 
nullum esse demonstravit, hunc dicti Paulini sensum statuit, 
1 Demnach ist zu erklaren, nicht fur einen Raub hielt er 
das Gottgleichsein, d. h. nicht so sah er die Gottgleichheit 
welche er hatte, an, als ware sie ein Verhaltniss des Beute- 
machens, als bestehe sie im Ansichreissen fremden Be- 
sitzes.' Per se quidem, haec sententia Deum praedatum ire 
seque aliorum bonis locupletare noluisse admodum absona 
est, at ratione habita ad oppositum comma septimum non 
aliud nisi hoc declarat, tantum abfuisse ut aliorum copiis 
ditare voluerit Christus, ut in aliorum commodum divitiis 
suis se privaverit, ac ministrorum loco haberi voluerit " 
(Dispntatio Christologica, p. 17). That is to say, Meyer's 
interpretation, in Tholuck's judgment, amounts to this, 
that Christ was so far from enriching Himself with the 
goods of others — equality with God being conceived of for 
the moment as the property of another to be got only by 
robbery — that He willingly parted with His own — this 
same equality with God — and became a servant. I confess 
that the turn given to the clause by Meyer seems to me 
too subtle, and even difficult to understand, and therefore 
I much prefer the rendering which has been adopted by 
many competent scholars: He did not deem equality with 
God a thing to be clutched and held fast at all hazards, as 
a robber holds his booty. 



LECTURE II. 



Note A.— Page 57. 



I GIVE in this note all the extracts I have met with in 
Cyril's works bearing on the subject of Christ's knowledge, 
with a translation, in parallel columns. 

The first extract is from Adversus Anthropomorphitas y 
cap. xiv., the subject of which is, " Of those who say that 
the Son knew not the last day, against the Agnoetes." 

After arguing against the idea that the asserted ignor- 
ance was absolute, or referred to Christ as a divine Being, 
Cyril goes on to give his own opinion thus: 



I. IIe<p6p7fH£ fiev 6 uovoy£vr)S 
AoyoS rov 0eov fxErd rrjS dvQpao- 

nOTTJTOi HOci TtCCVTU TOL aVTTfi, SlX<X 

HovrjZ riji dfxapTiaZ. MsrpoiS 8£ 

(X.V f )p007t6z7JTOi 7tpETtEl OLV EixoTOOZy 

xai to dyvoEiv rd e6ohev<x % ov- 
xovv xatf o 1.1EV voEiroci QsoS, oiSe 
Ttdvra 06a xai Harrip- xa r f o ye 

(.IVY dv^pODTtOi 6 OVTOi, OVX dltO- 

6Ei£za.i to xai dyvorj6ai doxsiv 

Sid TO TtpETCElV Tlj} dv^pOOTtOTTJTl. 

"£!6nEp 8s ovtoS gov rj 'Qoorj 7cdvroov 
xai dvva/nti Tpo<pt)v 6oanaTixrfv 
eSe'xeto, to ttj? XEVGJ6E00? ovx aTi- 
tidZoov niTpov, dv ay £y pocTtT at ds 
xai vitvaiv, xai xomd6a<i' ovtco 
xai itavTa sidoaS t?)v npsnovdav 
Trj dr f jpooTtoTr^Ti dyvoiav ovx kpv- 
hpid 7tpo6v£/.tGov iavTcp. TiyovEv 
yap avTov itavTa Ta ttjS dv^poo- 
itoTrjToS, dixa uovrji rifid/iapTiaS. 



The only-begotten Word of 
God with humanity bore all that 
belonged to it, sin excepted. But 
to the measures of humanity it 
belongs to be ignorant of the 
future. Therefore, so far as He 
is God, He knows all things as 
doth the Father; but in so far as 
He is also man, He does not 
shake off the appearance of ignor- 
ance, because such ignorance is 
congruous to human nature. Even 
as He, being the life and power 
of all, received bodily food, not 
despising the measure of the 
kenosis (it is recorded also that 
He slept and was weary); so He 
who knew all was not ashamed to 
ascribe to Himself the ignorance 
pertaining to humanity. For all 
human properties became His, 



Appendix. — Lecture II. — Note A. 



369 



Ensidi) ds zee iitep eavrovS oi ua- 
f jt]rai jaavQdveiv t/QeXov, 6xr}itTE- 
rai Xftrf6iu<s0 ! i to ut) sidevai xatf o 
dv6poono5, xai q>ij6i, /ht/Se avrovS 
eidevat tovS xar ovpavov uvraZ 
dyiovZ dyydXovS, i'va ur/ Xv7toov- 
Toa gjS ur) QappnBivTEi to fiv6Trj- 
piov. 



saving sin. When, therefore, the 
disciples wished to learn things 
above them, He usefully pretended 
not to know, and said that not even 
the angels in heaven knew; that 
they might not be grieved because 
they were not admitted to the 
knowledge of the mystery. 



The words in italics in English, and the corresponding 
words in Greek, show the kernel of Cyril's view. 

II. The next passage is from the Apologeticus pro XII. 
capitibus contra Orientates, Anathematismus iv. Speaking 
of the text in which Jesus is said to have grown in wisdom 
as in stature, Cyril remarks, against the Orientals whom he 
charged with making Christ two persons, one of whom real- 
ly did grow in wisdom: 



Ovts yap fi£pi6ubv tgov vito6- 
T&61GOV /jetcc Trfv svoodiv Soyjua- 

TlZojiieV, OVTS TrjY Ttji ©EOTVTOS 

<pv6iv av^ijdsooS te xai izpoxoitTJS 
d£d£r}6Qai cpajusv exeivo 8e /udX- 
Xov, oTi xaT 1 oixsioo6iv oixovom- 
xrjv kavTov TtEitoivTai rd idtarif? 
6apxoS, gJ? 6dpi ysyovGoS. 



For we neither affirm as a dogma 
the division of the hypostases after 
the union, nor do we say that the 
nature of Deity needs increase and 
growth; but this rather we hold, 
that, by way of an economical ap- 
propriation, He made His own the 
properties of the flesh, as having 
become flesh. 



What the economical appropriation means is more clearly 
and fully explained in the next quotation from Quod unus 
sit Christus, p. 1332 (Migne): 



III. 'O ydp Toi 6oq)6s EvayyEX\6- 
Trji, 6dpxa ysyovoTa Ttpo£i6sv£y- 
xa>v tov sloyov, Ssiuvvdiv avTov 
oixovo/uixoSs hq>£VTa tij iSia dap- 
xi, did tgov Tij 1 ; idiai q>vd£GoS iivai 
vouoov. 'AvbpaonoTtfToS Se to itpo- 
xotiteiv L6tlv r/Xixia te xaido<pia, 
qtairjv 8' dv oti xai xdpiTi, dvva- 
vaitrjdmdriS Tpoitov Tivd Toli tov 
doS/iiaTO? UETpoiS xai Ttji ev kxad- 
too dvvsdEooZ. 'Erspa 8e av kv 
rot? Tf8rj nai6i, xai vnsp tovto eti. 
Hv /.liv ydp ovx dSvvaTov tjyovv 



For the wise evangelist, intro- 
ducing the Word as become flesh, 
shows Him economically submit- 
ting Himself to His own flesh and 
going through the laws of His own 
nature. But it belongs to hu- 
manity to increase in stature and in 
wisdom, and, I might add, in 
grace, intelligence keeping pace 
with the measures of the body, 
and differing according to age. 
For it was not impossible for the 
Word born of the Father to have 



J/ 



The Humiliation of Christ. 



dveqjiHTov , a$S OscS ra Ix IlaTpoS 
q>vvn Aoyoo, to ivooOiv avTcS 
Sana, xai ii avroov 6itapydvoov 
ai'pEiv te vibov, xai, eii uirpov 
7/A.ixiaS rrji dpTiooi kxov6r/S dvev- 
syxEiv. $ait)v <5' oti xai t v vrjitito 
6oq>iav kxcpjjvai reBavfiadfxevijv 
pdSiov re xai EvrjXarov r?v avrca- 
a'A/V tjv to xpi/ua TEpaToitoiai ov 
ixaxpdv, xai toiS ri/i olxovouiaS 
\6yoiSavdpuo6Tov. 'ETskslroydp 
dipO(p7]Ti to uv6Tt']piov. 'Heptsi Sr) 
ovv otxovoux.x(3i toiS Ttji dvOpoo- 

rtOTTJTOi JUETpOli £q>' iavTco TO 

xpazelv. 



raised the body united to Himsell 
to its full height from the very 
swaddling-clothes. I would say 
also, that in the babe a wonderful 
wisdom might easily have appeared. 
But that would have approached 
the thaumaturgical, and would 
have been incongruous to the 
laws of the economy. For the 
mystery was accomplished noise- 
lessly. Therefore He economi- 
cally allowed the measures of 
humanity to have power over 
Himself. 



The accommodation to the laws of the economy, according 
to this passage, consisted in this: in stature, real growth; 
in wisdom, apparent growth. The wonderful wisdom was 
there from the first, but it was not allowed to appear 
(ex(pr?vai), to avoid an aspect of monstrosity. That the 
growth in wisdom was simply graduated manifestation of 
an already present perfect knowledge, appears clearly in 
the next extract. It is from Adversus Nestorium, p. 154. 

Alluding to the interpretation put by Nestorius on the 
text Luke ii. 52, viz. that a real growth in knowledge was 
meant, Cyril, after pointing out the absurdity of such an 
idea from the divine point of view, goes on to express his 
own opinion thus: 



IV. Ovuovv l8iix r J>/ av aita6ii' 
aijQiS te xpvhoc xai ze'vov, xai 
izEpispyiaS d\iov, si fipEcpoZ £>v 
ETiy ( jE0TtpEitri Ttji 6oq>iai kitoieivo 
Tijv evdei^iv xaTa fipaxv 8s xai 
dvaXoycoi ttJ tov (J&j/mro? 7'fXixia. 
xaTEvpvvoov avTTjv , iuq>avrj te 
dita6i xa { n6T(2v, itpoxoitTEiv dv 
Xsyoiro, xai udXa sixoTcoi. 



Therefore there would have 
been shown to all an unwonted 
and strange thing, if, being yet 
an infant. He had made a de- 
monstration of His wisdom worthy 
of God: but expanding it gradually 
and in proportion to the age of the 
body, and (in this gradual man- 
ner) making it manifest to all, 
He might be said to increase (in 
wisdom) very appropriately. 



The same idea is expressed with, if possible, still greater 
clearness in the next extract, which is taken from Aa 
reginas de recta fide oratio altera, cap. xvi.: 



Appendix. — Lecture II — Note A. 



371 



V. "To Se naidiov nviavE,xai 
kxparaiouTo nvEvjuaTi, irXr/pov- 
ixsvov 6oq>iai' xai £«'/3rS Oeov r t v 
kit avzGp." Kai ndX.iv "7?/<pouS 
TtpoehOTtTEv i/Xixia xai 6o<piq xai 
X<xpiri Qe&>xai dvbpGJ7toi5." "Eva 
\sy ovv £$ r ovKv piov ljjucSv'lT/tiovy 
Xpidrov, xai avrcp npo6veuovTEi 
roc re dvbpoomva xai BEoitpErtTJ, 

TOli JUEV TTJi XEVG06SG0i UETpOli 

npeTCsiv aA^Soj? Sia/JE/JaiovitsBa 
to ve ttjv 6oojuaTixr/v auzrj6iv kiti- 
da'xEijBai, xai f.ir/v xai to xpaTai- 
ovdbai, tgov tov 6oouaToi ddpvvo- 
jisvGDV /.lopiccv xaTd jipaxv' xai 
avTo 6s to Soxeiv n\ypov6Bai 60- 
q)ia<s, Sid ys to oiovsi npoZ knido- 
6iv Tift Tov6aouaToS i/Xixia npEzco- 
dE6TaTT]v Tiji kvov6nS avTaS 6o<piai 
dvacpoiT&v t?)v £X(pav6iv xai 
TavTi jiisv, &5s EcpTjv, ttj UETa 6ap- 
xoi olxovoi-iiq. Ttpknoi a y, xai ToiS 

Ttji V<p£6SG0S UETpOXi. 



" But the boy increased and 
waxed strong in spirit, being 
filled with wisdom, and the grace 
of God was upon Him." And 
again: " Jesus increased in stature 
and wisdom, and in favour with 
God and men." In affirming 
our Lord Jesus Christ to be one, 
and assigning to Him both divine 
and human properties, we truly 
assert that it was congruous to 
the measures of the kenosis, on 
the one hand, that He should 
receive bodily increase and grow 
strong, the parts of the body grad- 
ually attaining their full develop- 
ment; and, on the other hand> 
that He should seem to be filled 
with wisdom, in so far as the 
manifestation of the wisdom dwell- 
ing within Him proceeded, as by 
addition, most congruously to 
the stature of the body; and this, 
as I said, agreed with the economy 
of the Incarnation, and the meas- 
ures of the state of humiliation. 



Here, again, observe that the growth in the body is real, 
the growth in the mind only apparent, — a growth in the 
sense of graduated manifestation made to correspond with 
the age of the body, so that no more wisdom might appear 
than suited the time of life, such correspondence being re- 
quired by propriety or decency. 

The next two quotations are from Thesaurus, Assertiones 
xxii. xxviii. I take the latter first, as referring to the same 
subject as the last, the growth of the child Jesus in wisdom. 
Thesaurus, p. 428: 



VI. $V<5lXOi Tli VO^lOi OVX kltl- 

rpeTiEi tov avQpoonov TVS Tov6nj- 
jaocToi rfXixiaS (Sdnsp /usiZova itoXv 
ttjv q>povyj6iv e'xeiv aXXd 6vvt- 
pEXEi foaS xai 7} tv r/ulv 6vye6iZ, 
xai (jv/u/Sadi^Ei rponov Tivd Tali 
tov 6o3/zaToS npoxoTtalZ. *Hv ovv 



A certain physical law forbids 
man having more wisdom than 
corresponds to the stature of the 
body: our understanding runs 
and keeps pace pari passu with 
the growth of the corporeal frame. 
Now the Word became flesh, as 



57* 



The Humiliation of Christ. 



6 AcyoS kv dapxi ysvojuevoS av- 
QpcoTtoS xaOd ysypaitTav xai rjv 
teXeioS, 6oq>ia tov Ilixrpoi xai 
SvvajuiS Qjv. 'ErtEidi) Se rqj rffi cpv- 
6£aoi i/jiiGoy eQst 7tapaxoopelv ncoS 
tXP'Jy, iva. urj zi Ievov napd ro?S 
opc36i i'oni6 r )>]. cot dr0pa>7to?, xard 
fipaxv npoi avlrjv iovroS tov 600- 
fiaroSf diiExdXvTtTEv kavvov xai 
odr/jiupai 6o<poov£poi xapd zolS 
6poo6iv rj xai dxovovoiv hqxxivEro. 
. . . on xapd tolS 6pcj6i 6oq>QJTE- 
poS del xai ^apif'tfrepoS ??v, itpo- 
xotctexv ei'prjrai, &3s evtevSev rjSrj 
ttjv TGov OavjuaZovroov npoxoit- 
teiv 'i\iv , r/ xrfv avvov. 



it is written, and was perfect, 
being the wisdom and power of 
God. But seeing it was in a 
sense necessary that He should 
adapt Himself to the custom of 
our nature, lest He should be 
reckoned something strange as 
man by those who saw Him, 
while His body gradually advanced 
in growth He concealed Himself, 
and appeared daily wiser to those 
who saw and heard Him; . . . 
because He was ever wiser and 
more gracious in the esteem of 
beholders, He is said to have 
grown in wisdom and grace, so 
that His growth is to be referred 
rather to the habit of those who 
wondered at His wisdom than to 
Himself. 



Here it is taught that Christ's growth in wisdom was 
simply a holding back, or concealment, of wisdom existing 
in perfection from the first, out of respect to the physical 
law, according to which, in ordinary men, body and mind 
keep pace in their growth. 

The other passage in the Thesatirus (Assertio xxii. 220- 
224) is too long to quote in full, and after the foregoing it 
is not necessary to give it in extenso. The author's view 
will appear sufficiently from selected sentences. The sub- 
ject of discussion is the profession of ignorance made by 
Jesus with reference to the day and hour: 



VII. Ovx ayvocSv 6 XoyoZ ovx 
018a q>v6iv , dXXd Seixvvqov iv 
iavrcS xai to dvbpaortivov, co ud- 
Xi6za npsTtEi to dyroeiv . . . 
'EtzeiS)} ydp t?)v i)u<3v TCEpisfid- 
Xeto ddpxa, did tovto xai tyjv 
rjudov dyvoiav i'^Ezz' Idx^uaTi- 
Zero. ... (P. 373.) 
'AyvoEXv 6e Xsyoov, xaho tcSv 
dyvoslv itEq>vxoT0OY, SnXovozt 
d i /f jpaD7CGov, t?)v ojtioioodiv eve8v- 
6aTo. {Ibid.) 



Not as being ignorant the Word 
says I know not, but showing in 
Himself the human, to which 
ignorance is very specially con- 
gruous. For since He clothed 
Himself with our flesh, He af- 
fected to have (put on the fashion 
of) our ignorance. . . . 

In saying that He was ignor- 
ant, He put on the likeness of 
those whose nature it is to be 
ignorant, viz. men. 



Appendix. — Lecture II. — Note A. 



373 



£l6ittp ovv 6vyxexoopt]xev iav- 
zov gJs dvBpoonov ysvousvov u£- 
zd avSpoo7tGOv xai Ttiivyjjv xai 
Siipyv, xai zd aAAa 7tddx £iy aitsp 
eipr/zai 7cepi avzov, zov avzov Srj 
zpoitov dxoXovhov jut'; dxavSaXi- 
%£dQai xdv cos dv6pG07io? A€yy,jii£z' 
av6pG07Ccov dyvoslv, ozi zr)V av- 
zrjv tf/.ii'y kcpopzds ddpxa. OiSs 
iusy yap goS docpia xai AoyoS gov 
kv Ilazpv hi) side'vai 8e q>r)di Si' 
y/uds xai jU£9' t//xgdv g3s dvBpcortoi. 
(P- 373)- 

With reference to the question, 
"Whom do men say that I the 
Son of man am ? " Cyril remarks 

(p. 376)j 

Ovxovv oixovon£i zi itoWdxiS 
zfji dyroiaS zo dxtfua. 

Further on, Cyril adduces the 
question put by Jesus to the dis- 
ciples, "How many loaves have 
ye ? " where ignorance was cer- 
tainly only affected, to prove that 
dag>ooS oixoYojuixdoS sdB' oz£ zrjv 
ayvoiav dxyp-aziZ,6u£voSo^2Gozrfp. 
A few sentences further on he 
says, with reference to the ignor- 
ance of the day and hour: 

Oixovo/nsz yap zoi XpidzoS utf 
EiSevai Xiycov zr/v oopav ixeivt/v, 
xai ovx a'A^SoJs dyvost. 



As, then, He allowed Himself, 
as become man, to hunger and 
thirst with men, and to suffer the 
other things which are said con- 
cerning Him; in the same way it 
follows that we ought not to be 
scandalized, when, as man, He 
says that He is ignorant along with 
men, because He bore the same 
flesh with us. For as Wisdom 
and as the Logos in the Father 
He knew; but He says that He 
knew not on our account and 
along with us as man. 



Therefore He often puts on 
economically the fashion of (i. e. 
simulates) ignorance. 



that the Saviour manifestly some- 
times economically puts on the 
fashion of ignorance. 



For Christ acts economically 
in saying that He does not know 
that hour, and is not really 
ignorant. 



The last extract has reference to the same subject, 
Christ's profession of ignorance concerning the day and 
hour. It is from the Apologeticus contra Theodoretum pro 
XII. capitibtis (Anathematismus iv. p. 416): 

VIII. Kai £i7t£p idziv eis z£ xai And if He is one and the same 

6 avzoi Sid zo zrjs dXr/Bovi evca- in virtue of the true unitv of 

dEooS xpi?M<x, *ai ovx ezspos xai natures, and is not one and an- 

£Z£poS Siyprjfxevoos ze xai dvd ue- other (two persons) disjunctively 

pot, avzov navzaas kdzai xai zo and parti tively, to Him will belon» 

tidsvai xai pev zot xai zo u?) elds'- both to know and to seem not to 



374 The Humiliation of Christ. 

vai SoheIv. Ouhovy oide /uev uai know. Therefore He knows on 

avrds Oeihgos &5s 6o<pia rov liar- the divine side as the Wisdom of 

pds. 'EttsiS?} 8s rd rrjs dyvoovdyi the Father. But since He sub- 

dv^pcoitorrjroi vneSv /.isrpov, oi- jected Himself to the measure of 

■KovouiH&<; otxEiovzai uai tovto humanity, He economically ap- 

usrd zcSv dA.\oDY, xai rat, uaQd- propriates this also with the rest, 

xep Ecpyjv apricot, f/yvorjHooZ ov- although, as I said a little ago, 

Siv t dW etdoas aitccvrajuerd rov being ignorant of nothing, but 

Ilarpoi. knowing all things with the Father. 

Neander, commenting on this passage, very justly re- 
marks that Cyril expresses himself in words to which he 
could hardly attach any definite meaning. What Cyril 
does say, however, is not so utterly devoid of meaning as 
the words which are put into his mouth by the English 
translator of Neander (Bohn's edition), which are absolute- 
ly unintelligible, owing to a misrendering of the German 
original. The sentence beginning with 'EitEiSrj Si is thus 
rendered: "When Christ subjected Himself to the general 
mass of human nature, which is limited in its knowledge, 
He appropriated this part of it also by a special economy, 
although still He had no bounds to His knowledge, but 
was, with the Father, omniscient." It is evident that in 
using the word mass (printed in italics as here given), the 
translator has mistaken the German word Mass, measure 
{nivpov), for Masse, mass (Neander's Church History, vol. 
iv. p. 151). 



LECTURE III. 

Note A.— Page 85. 

In tracing the origin of the Lutheran Christology to the 
controversy concerning the Supper, I am aware that the: 
leading modern authorities of all schools, Dorner, Thoma- 
sius, Schneckenburger, Baur, agree in asserting that 
Luther's views of the person of Christ, in their maim 
features, were fixed before the Sacramentarian dispute 
began. Dorner's opinions on the point are accessible to 
all, and need not be quoted (see Doctrine of the Person 
of Christ, div. ii. vol. ii. p. 53 ff.). Thomasius {Chris ti 
Person und Werk, ii. p. 13) says that the controversy with 
the Swiss only gave Luther the occasion for the construc- 
tion of his Christology, the innermost motive lying, not in 
the doctrine of the Supper, but in the two great moments 
of his faith, living confidence in the historical fact of re- 
demption, and actual communion with the living Christ, 
and, in Him, with God. Schneckenburger {Vergleichende 
Darstellung, ii. p. 193) says: " The dogma of the person of 
Christ became a subject of dispute in the first decade of the 
Reformation, through the difference on the subject of the 
Supper. But it must not therefore be imagined that the 
diverse conception of the person of Christ was simply a 
secondary, auxiliary theory, designed to justify that differ- 
ence. The difference in reference to the Supper was rather 
only the occasion through which the, in some respects, 
more radical difference, in reference to Christ's person, be- 
came a matter of self-consciousness." Baur {Die LeJire 
von der Dreieinigkeit, iii. p. 399) expresses a similar opinion: 



2,7 6 The Humiliation of Christ. 

" It was Luther, as is well known, who through the dogma 
of the ubiquity of Christ's human nature (in connection with 
his doctrine of the Supper) gave occasion to the doctrine of 
Christ's person becoming a cause of division among the 
Protestants. That Luther connected the doctrine of ubi- 
quity with that of the Supper, was the natural result of his 
way of viewing Christ's presence in the Supper; but the 
former doctrine in turn presupposes a view of the person of 
Christ which rested on the same mode of thinking with his 
view of the Supper, which was not first suggested, but only 
brought into clear consciousness, by the Sacramentarian 
controversy." I believe that the account thus given in 
cemmon by such highly competent authorities, of Luther's 
opinions anterior to 1527, the date of his work, Dass diese 
Worte " das ist mein Leib" nodi feste stehen, is substantially 
correct, and that the German reformer, previously to thai 
publication, held a view of Christ's person which pre- 
disposed him to maintain the bodily presence in the Supper, 
when it was called in question. But it is open to doubt 
whether Luther previously held ubiquity to be a necessary 
consequence of the union of the natures, or whether he 
would ever have advocated that tenet, had it not been for 
the exigencies of the Sacramentarian controversy. Dorner, 
indeed, maintains that Luther changed his views on that 
point after the controversy with Zuingli arose, and claims 
Luther's authority in support of his own theory of a gradual 
Incarnation, which leaves room for a real human develop- 
ment, and does not prematurely overlay the humanity with 
divine attributes {Person of Christ, div. ii. vol. ii. p. 53 ff.). 
Thomasius, on the other hand, represents Luther as having 
always held a twofold aspect of Christ's humanity, a 
natural and a supernatural, a visible and an invisible 
{Person nnd Werk, vol. ii. p. 335). 

Note B. — Page 107. 

As the literature bearing on the Tiibingen-Giessen dispute 
is all but inaccessible to students in this country, I have 
had to take my information from Thomasius, Baur, and the 
■dissertation of Cotta on the states appended to the fourth 



Appendix. — Lecture III. — Note B. 377 

Locus of Gerhard's Loci TJieologici. The following extract 
from the latter may give readers a sufficiently clear idea of 
the state of this controversy: — 

Missa controversia hac leviori (as to whether the exinani« 
tion refers to both natures, or to one only) aliud jam nobis 
commemorandum est certamen theologicum, idque maxime 
infaustum, quod, ineunte seculo 17, inter ipsos ecclesiae 
nostrae doctores, ac speciatim Tubingenses atque Giessenses 
de idiomatum divinorum carni Christi communicatorum in 
statu exinanitionis usu, olim exarsit, ac per tempus bene 
longum fuit continuatum. Statuerunt Giessenses, Christum 
hominem in statu exinanitionis proprietatibus quidem divinis, 
verb. grat. omnipraesentia, omniscientia, omnipotentia, etc., 
fuisse gavisum, sed earum usu ordinario se penitus abdicasse, 
neque adeo acceptam majestatem divinam semper atque 
incessanter usurpasse, siquidem ejusdem usus ex divina 
magis voluntate, quam unione personali sit derivendus. In 
contrariam vero sententiam heic ivere theologi Tubingenses, 
asserentes, Christum hominem in ipso exinanitionis stacu, 
vi unionis personalis, semper fuisse omnipraesentem, omnis- 
cium, nee omnipotentiae divinae usu sese abdicasse, nisi 
quoad actum reflexum, in munere suo sacerdotali, iisque 
quae operi redemptionis perficiendo obstare poterant; in 
officio autem regio, et quoad actum directum idiomata divina 
usurpasse, regimenque in ecclesiam omnesque creaturas, 
licet latenter (exceptis tamen miraculis atque operationibus 
extraordinariis, quae palam egit) semper exercuisse. Patet 
ex his, litem non fuisse de unione, quam vocant, personali, 
nee de idiomatum communicatione ac possessione, sed de 
eorum duntaxat usu. Quum vero controversia haec diversas 
ambitu suo complectatur quaestiones speciales, de quibus 
olim acriter fuit disceptatum, easdem sigillatim heic per- 
censebimus. Quaestio prima erat de fundamento adaequato 
et formali omnipraesentiae, quin et reliquorum attributorum 
divinorum carni Christi communicatorum; an illud in sola 
unione personali, an vero in libera Christi voluntate 
ejusdemque sessione ad dextram patris sit collocandum ? 
Prius statuebant Tubingenses, posterius Giessenses. Altera 
quaestio spectabat ad justam atque adaequatam omniprae- 
sentiae divinae notionem. Docebant theologi Tubing. 



378 The Humiliation of Christ. 

omnipraes. consistere in adessentia vel propinquitate ad 
creaturas, Christumque vi unionis personalis, adeoque non 
actu naturae humanae sed personae in ipso exinanitionis 
statu, omnibus creaturis indistanter fuisse praesentem. Ast 
negabant hoc ex altera parte Giessenses, statuentes, ide.im 
operationis ingredi definitionem omnipraesentiae, ejus- 
demque characterem constitutivum, quern vocant, par- 
temque essentialem esse, nee Christum exinanitum, eo 
sensu, ut statuunt Tubingenses, praesentem se se ex- 
hibuisse. Accedebat tertia quaestio cum priori connexa, 
utrum Christo homini in statu exin. divina apud creaturas 
operatio eaque universalis sit tribuenda, ita ut cuncta in 
coelo et in terra, sapientia ac potentia secum communi- 
cata gubernarit, adeoque acceptam majestatem divinam 
semper et incessanter exercuerit. Adfirmantem senten- 
tiam amplexi sunt Tubing, atque docuerunt Christum 
exinanitum coelum atque terram gubernasse, eadem ra- 
tione, uti gubernationem hanc in statu exalt, ad dextram 
patris sedens, exerceat, hoc duntaxat observato discrimine, 
quod in st. exin. gubernationem istam texerit atque occulta- 
verit sub forma servili, nunc autem conditione ista servili 
deposita, eandem gloriose ac majestatice declaret ac mani- 
festet. Huic vero adserto contradixerunt Giess. atque 
negarunt Christum temp. exin. imperium in omnes creaturas 
exercuisse; hoc enim involvere plenarium div. majestatis 
usum, quern Christus, finito demumexin. statu sit consecutus, 
sec. oraculum Paulinum Phil. ii. 9, 10. Denique quarto dis- 
putatum quoque fuit, an exinanitio fuerit vera, realis atque 
omnimoda abstinentia ab usu tarn directo, quam refiexo div. 
majest. in conjunctissima duarum naturarum unione ac- 
ceptae ? an vero tantum constiterit in occultatione maj. div. 
per formam servi assumptam ? Priorem sententiam pro- 
pugnarunt Giess. poster. Tubing., qui et hoc addebant, 
occultationem istam duntaxat locum habuisse in usu 
idiomatum divinorum directo, nee tamen semper, prout ex 
miraculis, palam a Christo perpetrato, quae divinitatis 
Christum inhabitantis fuerint radii, clare satis pateat. 
Quod vero ad proprietatum divinarum usum, quern vocant, 
reflexurn, redemptions operi obstiturum, attinet, Christum 
eodem sponte se se penitus abdicasse. Atque de hac ipsa 



Appendix. — Lecture III. — Note C. 379 

evacuatione usus idiomatum divinorum reflcxi exponenda 
esse verba gentium apostoli Phil. ii. 7 £h£v&)6e kawov. (Dis- 
sertatio de Statibns et Officio Christi Mediatorio, sees, 
v., vi.) 

Note C. — Page 115. 

Schneckenburger says: " When we review the Lutheran 
position, it is not difficult to discover the inner threads by 
which the speculative Christology is connected with and 
produced from it. The Reformed argues: That humanity 
of the Redeemer assumed into real personal unity, from the 
conception in utero virginis, existing illocally, and still 
after the exaltation at the right hand of God, on the one 
hand incorporated with the collegium sanctae trinitatis, on 
the other hand, on that account, almighty, omniscient, omni- 
present in the world — is not the humanity of a particular 
man, but something exalted above all human individuals; 
so to speak, the idea of perfected humanity, and the idea of 
the Godhead as one with the essence of humanity, a perfect 
nonentity. And whereas in the Lutheran theory, from the 
moment of incarnation, or at least of exaltation, this divine- 
human personality has all authority over the world, this 
cannot be an absolutely new beginning for the divine Being, 
the unity of the divine with that general humanity cannot 
fall within time, what begins in time is simply the knowl- 
edge thereof by the individual man. God cannot have 
determined Himself in time to assume human nature; the 
assumption on God's part must be an eternal one, so that 
the assumed humanity is exempt from the limits of time as 
well as of space. This God-manhood, therefore, in its 
essence precedes individual human existence; and as, on 
the one hand, the individual man must have part therein to 
be truly man, and to correspond to his idea {unio mysticd); 
so, on the other, must each human individual have the 
capacity to take part therein. All the functions ascribed 
to the God-man are in this way functions of humanity 
itself. Whence then have sprung the fantasies which Chris- 
tendom has twined around a historical individual, but out 
of its own spirit, which, seeing in this person the proper 
essence of man, unconsciously gave objective existence to 



380 The Htimiliatioii of Christ. 

the ideal which lies hid in the depths of the race ? What 
is the historical Christ but the occasional cause of this 
fantastic self-objectification ? What is the xpvrlns of the 
Idiom-communication, but the state of the finite spirit 
become unconscious in its concrete manner of existence, of 
what as absolute organizing world-reason it produced ? 
And what, but a consequence of the doctrine that the caro 
Christi in ipso statu exinanitionis tccte ruled the world, is 
it, when to the human spirit the knowledge of nature and 
of her laws is ascribed, because all recollection has not died 
out in its mind of what as unconscious nature-spirit it 
created ? And this its humiliation is the pole of its exalta- 
tion, in which as absolute spirit it returns to itself again. 
In this fashion does the speculative Christology in the 
hands of Strauss present itself as a phase in the develop- 
ment of the Lutheran type of the doctrine, and to this 
extreme the dogma was destined inevitably to come, as 
soon as the old system was delivered from the trammels 0/ 
an extramundane God, and of sin." Similar remarks occur in 
the work on the two states {Vom doppelten Stande Christi, 
38-40). [In German: Sehen wir nach der lutherischen Po- 
sition hiniiber, so fallt es auch hier nicht schwer, die inner 
Faden zu entdecken, wodurch die speculative Christologie 
mit ihr zusammenhangt und von ihr hervorgetrieben wird. 
Der Reformirte argumentirt: jene Menschheit des Erlosers, 
als von der Conception in utero Virginis an real in die 
personliche Einheit aufgenommen, illocal existirend und 
doch nach der Erhohung zur Rechten Gottes, einerseits 
dem collegium sanctae trinitatis incorporirt, andererseits 
desshalb allmachtig, allwissend, allgegenwartig in der Welt 
— das ist nimmermehr die Menschheit eines Menschen, 
sondern etwas liber alien Menschen-Individuen Erhabenes, 
gleichsam die Idee der Menschheitsvollendung, und die 
.Idee des Gottheit als Eins mit dem Wesen der Menschheit 
,an sich, ein vollendetes non-ens. Wie lutherisch vom 
Momente der incarnatio, oder wenigstens der exaltatio an, 
diese gottmenschliche Personlichkeit alles Regiment aui 
der Welt hat, so kann, so soil damit fur das Gottliche an 
sich selbst doch nicht ein absolut Neues beginnen, das 
Einssein des Gottlichen mit jener allgemeinen Menschheit 



Appendix. — Lecture III. — Note C. 381 

nicht eigentlich in die Zeit fallen, sondern was von ihm in 
die Zeit fallt und anfangt, ist bloss das Wissen des individ- 
uellen Menschen urn dieselbe. Gott kann sich nicht erst 
in der Zeit zur Annahme der Menschennatur entschlossen 
haben, sondern diese Annahme muss von Seiten Gottes 
eine ewige sein, also jene den Schranken des Raums en- 
triickte Menschheit auch den Schranken der Zeit entriickt 
sein. Diese Gottmenschheit geht also ihrem Wesen nach 
dem einzelnen Menschsein voraus; und so gewiss das Men- 
schen-Individuum daran, um wahrhaft Mensch zu sein und 
seiner Idee zu entsprechen, Theil haben muss (unio mystica), 
so gewiss muss das einzelne Menschen-Individuum von 
Haus aus der Fahigkeit nach daran Theil haben. Alle 
jene dem Gottmenschen zugesprochenen Produkte und 
Funktionen sind so Funktionen des Menschheit selbst. 
Woher anders stammen also die Phantasieen, welche die 
Christenheit um ein historisches Individuum geschlungen 
hat, als aus dem eigenen Gemiithe, das in diesem Individ- 
uum, das eigen Wesen des Menschen anschauend, Alles 
bewusstloss objectivirte, was in der Tiefe der Gattung 
von ldealem verborgen liegt ? Was ist der historische 
Christus anders als bloss der Veranlassungspunkt zu dieser 
phantastischen Selbstobjektivirung ? Was ist die xpvipis 
der Idiomen-communication, wenn nicht der Zustand des 
endlichen Geistes, der sich in seiner concreter Existenz- 
weise nicht mehr unmittelbar bewusst, was er als absolute 
organisirende Weltvernunft producirt hat ? Was ist es, 
wenn nicht die Consequenz der Lehre dass die caro Christi 
in ipso statu exinanitionis tecte das ' Regiment; der Welt 
ausiibe. . . . wenn dem Menschen-geiste darum die Kennt- 
niss der Natur und ihrer Gesetze zugeschrieben ist, weil 
ihm nicht durchaus alle Erinnerung dessen erloschen sei, 
was er als bewusstloser Naturgeist geschaffen ? Und jene 
seine Erniedrigung ist der Pol seiner Erhohung, in welcher 
er als absoluter Geist zu sich selbst zuruckkehrt. In sol- 
cher Weise stellt sich die speculative Christologie wie sie 
namentlich bei Strauss auftritt, als eine Phase auf der Seite 
der christologischen Entwickelungen innerhalb des luther- 
ischen Lehrtypus heraus, und es musste zu diesem Ex- 
trem fortgehen, so wie die dem alten Systeme anhaftende 



382 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Klammern des extramundanen Gottes, und der Sunde 
wegfielen ( VergleicJiende Darstellung, Zweiter Theil, pp. 
218, 219).] 

Note D. — Page 129. 

Schweitzer says: " The Christology of the Reformed 
appears to rest on the following principles: — 1. Christ 
fully belongs to our race, a man consisting of body and 
soul, named the natura Jiumana, the humanitas of Christ. 
2. Christ's humanity is by the highest fulness of gifts of grace 
as highly exalted as a human soul possibly can be; in par- 
ticular, the proclivity called original sin is by this equipment 
so broken that soul and body can attain to a sinless course 
of life: praestantia Juimanae Christi naturae. 3. To this 
comparatively highest worth of Christ is joined a specifically 
unique one: the Logos life of God, the source of the 
prophetic illumination, dwells in Christ as the innermost 
animating principle of His personality, divina Christi natura 
or more strictly, the participation in God thereby, that this 
man is kwn.66Ta.T0z re? X6ya>\ He is the Son of God, and 
the Only-begotten. 4. The Being and Life emanating from 
God, or the Logos, is as such transcendent, infinite; but in 
the way in which He appears as the principle of the Person- 
ality of Christ, this divine Being and Life passed into human 
limitations without absorbing these: idomata divina. non 
communicantur humanae naturae, ocailtatio majestatis divinae. 
5. Precisely this theanthropically formed existence and 
activity is the redeeming work, and it appears as the com- 
pleted religious life and religious moral activity: opera 
redemtionis a persona secundum utramque naturam profiscis- 
cuntur. 6. This economic Christology rests on the real 
Trinity in the economy of the divine Being: non tres pcr- 
sonae, non pater, non spiritus sanctus, non essentia tribus per- 
sonis communis, sed filius, sive bXoyoz, iucarnatus est qua 
vTt66Ta6iz. The Christology resting on these foundations 
is not indeed carried fully out, because the old formulae 
exercised a disturbing influence. The disturbance, however, 
is not so great as appears. It is said, e.g., starting from 
the formula, duae naturae in una persona: in Christ is a 



Appendix. — Lecture III. — Note D. 383 

humanly limited knowledge, secundum hum. ejus naturam, 
an absolute secundum divinam; the latter statement has 
reference to the divine nature only in the abstract. The 
concrete Theanthropos has emptied Himself of the absolute 
knowledge of God; for had He as a real possession the 
absolute and the limited beside each other, the personality 
would be cleft asunder; and had He the absolute knowl- 
edge really, the human finite knowledge would be absorbed. 
The intention, therefore, was to maintain the perfection of 
the religious life of Christ only in a humanly limited intelli- 
gence, and to derive His freedom from error from the divine 
elements. The reproach is unfounded that the Reformed 
shrank from the idea of the divine being realized in the 
temporal; all that they shrank from, and rightly, was the 
ignoring of the forms under which alone this process is 
conceivable, and can be accomplished; they aimed at a 
historic reality; they meant to teach that God really be- 
came man, became humanly determined; but they did not 
quite manage to put the matter rightly, to give the idea 
adequate expression." [In German: Es scheint die Chris- 
tologie der Reformirten beruhe auf folgenden Grundlagen: 
1. Christus ist vollig unserer Gattung angehorig, ein Mensch 
aus Leib und Seele bestehend, was man die natura kumana, 
die humanitas Ch. nennt. 2. Christi Menschheit ist durch 
hochste Fiille von Gnadengaben so hoch gehoben, als eine 
menschliche Seele iiberhaupt gehoben werden kann, na- 
mentlich ist jener Erbsiindenhangin Folge dieser Austattung 
so gebrochen, dass Seele und Leib eine siindlose Lebens- 
fuhrung erreichen: praestantia humanae Ch. naturae. 3. Zu 
dieser graduell hochsten Wiirde Christi kommt endlich eine 
specifisch einzige; das Logosleben Gottes, die Propheten 
erleuchtend, wohnt Christo ein als innerstes die Personlich- 
keit beseelendes Princip, divina Ch. natura, oder genauer 
das Theilhaben an Gott dadurch, dass dieser Mensch 
tYvn66zaToi too Xoyao ist; er ist der Sohn Gottes, und zwar 
der eingeborene. 4. Das emanirte gottliche Sein und Le- 
ben order der Logos ist als solcher transcendent, unend- 
lich; in der Art aber, wie er als Kern der Personlichkeit 
Christi zur Erscheinung kommt, ist dieses gottliche Sein 
und Leben in menschliche Bestimmtheit eingegangen, ohne 



384 The Humiliation of Christ. 

ciiese zu absorbiren, idomata divina non communicantur 
humanae naturae, occult at io majestatis divinae. 5. Gerade 
diese theanthropisch gestaltete Existenz und Wirksamkeit 
ist die erlosende, und erscheint als das vollendete religiose 
Leben und religios sittliche Wirken — opera redemtionis a 
persona secundum utramque naturam profisciscuntur. 6. Diese 
okonomische Christologie ruht auf der realen Trinitat in 
der Oekonomie des gottlichen Wesens; non tres personae, 
non pater, non spir. sane, non essentia tribus personis com- 
munis, sed filius, sive 6 \6yos, iucaruatus est qua V7t66ra6is. 
Die auf diesen Grundlagen ruhende Christologie ist freilich 
nicht rein durchgefuhrt worden, indem das Unbequeme der 
alten Formeln storend eingewirkt hat. Diese Storungen 
sind aber nicht so bedeutend als sie scheinen. Sagt man z. 
B., von der Formel ausgehend — duae naturae in una persona, 
in Christus sei ein menschlich beschriinktes Wissen secundum 
hum. ejus naturam, ein absolutes secundum divinam: so gilt 
letzeres von der div. natura in abstracto. Der concrete 
Theanthropos aber hat sich dessen entaussert; denn hatte 
*r als wirklichen Besitz das absolute und beschrankte 
neben einander, so wurde allerdings die Personlichkeit 
f^espalten; hatte er das absolute wirklich, so ware das 
oienschlich endliche Wissen absorbirt. Man will also nur 
.n menschlich bestimmter Intelligenz die Vollendung des 
Religiosen behaupten und hat diese Irrthumslosigkeit vom 
Gottlichen abgeleitet. Ungegriindet ist der Vorwurf, man 
scheue sich reformirter Seits das Gottliche im Zeitlichen 
verwirklicht zu glauben; vielmehr scheut man sich nur, und 
mit Recht, die Formen zu ignoriren, unter denen allein 
dieser Process denkbar ist und vollzogen werden kann; man 
will gerade eine historische Realitiit, man will lehren, dass 
Gott wirklich Mensch werde, sich menschlich bestimme, 
aber man dringt noch nicht durch {Die Glaubenslehre 
der evangelisch-reformirten Kirche, Zweiter Band, pp. 
336, 337)-] 

Note E.— Page 133. 

The Reformed theologians were not altogether of one 
mind as to the relation of the humanity of Christ to the 



Appendix. — Lecture III. — Note E. 385 

category of personality. The prevailing view, however, was 
that the human nature of our Lord, while dwTc66xaroz in 
itself, was iwitodraros through the Logos. They did not 
hesitate to call Christ a man. Such phrases as these occur 
in the Admonitio : iste homo Deus est; huic homini datam 
esse ipsam Deitatem. Nevertheless, according to the same 
document, the human nature is so borne and preserved by 
the Logos, even in glory, that " ne quidem persona sit per 
se; sed duntaxat natura, quae ne existeret quidem, nisi sic 
gestaretur a persona \6yov " {persona is here used in the 
literal ancient sense of vn66ra6i%, what is placed under as 
a support, not in the modern sense of the Ego). To the 
same effect Zanchius, who starts the difficulty, If the Logos 
assumed a human body with a rational soul, does that not 
amount to assuming a person ? and then disposes of the 
" magna dubitatio " by laying down the position, that the 
humanity was <xvvit66raroz in se, because it never subsisted 
separately from the Logos {De incamatione, lib. ii., theses 
ii. and Hi.). He has no hesitation, however, in calling Christ 
a man; e.g.: aliud enim quum nominamus animam et carnem 
Christi, tunc enim de natura loquimur; et aliud quum earn 
nominamus hominem, Personam enim tunc indicamus qua- 
tenus in humana subsistat natura. Ideo damus Christum 
hominem esse ubique; negamus autem carnem vel animam 
jbique (lib. ii. thes. iii. p. 64). Again, p. 68: Haeresis 
*st Nestoriana tarn negare Deum Patrem esse hujus 
hominis quam negare Mariam matrem esse hujus Dei. The 
same view is given by Henry Alting: Non potest certe 
Natura Humana esse vito6za6is, Persona; verum necesse est 
ut in se dvvn66raroi, evv7t66raroS autem sit in Xoyao qui 
accepit formam servi. Eo tamen nihil decessit Naturae 
Humanae perfectioni; quia mansit substantia, mansit parti- 
bus suis et proprietatibus integra, mansit etiam individualis. 
Imo tanto plus accesit, quanto majus est subsistere in 
Persona Creatoris quam subsistentia creaturae {Scriptorum 
Theologicorum, vol. i. p. 149). The last thought reminds 
one of the sentiment of the Lutheran Hollaz, who enum- 
erates dvvno6zcx6ia among the prerogatives of Christ's 
humanity, and speaks of the want of human personality as 
I-*vina filii Dei hypostasi tanquam longe eminentiori com.' 



3S6 The Humiliation of Christ. 

pens at a. Mastricht, on the other hand, denies personality 
in every sense to the humanity. He speaks of the human 
nature as id quidem omne habens, quod ad constitutionem 
nat. hum. est necessarium, eoque nobis quoad naturam, per 
omnia similis, solo excepto peccato, sed tamen personali- 
tate, per quam incommunicabilis et completa fit natura, 
penitus destituta, penitus inquam, hoc est, non propria 
tantum et sibi peculiari quae duplicem inferat personalitatem, 
sed participata etiam per quam kvvn66T<xzos nonnullisdicitur, 
destituta; quod ea ratione, humana natura subsisteret per- 
sonalitate divina, adeoque humana natura persona foret 
divina {Theologia Theoret. Practica, lib. v. c. iv. p. 538). 
Schneckenburger suggests, as a reason for the exclusion 
of natural personality from the human nature in the Re- 
formed theory, that such personality was held to come 
within the scope of the qualifying clause peccato excepto, on 
the ground that no self-consciousness is holy, except when 
absolutely surrendered to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 
For this notion, however, he gives no citations. This 
author has some very subtle remarks on the impersonalitas 
in its bearing on the question of a double consciousness, 
which, as they may interest some minds, I here translate. 
He says (Vergl. Darstell. ii. p. 199): "The impersonality, 
strictly considered, is but the highest expression for what 
others call the absolute determination of the human nature 
by the Logos. They (the defenders of impersonality) say: 
Without the assumption of impersonality there would 
result a double personality, by which the unity of self- 
consciousness would be broken up, and the consequence 
would be no real Incarnation, therefore, after all, only one 
personality, that of the Logos. But do we now get, on the 
supposition of the impersonality, a certain double person- 
ality in the Logos ? For as person of the Trinity, as totus 
extra Jesum, He is conscious of Himself after another 
fashion than He is as occultatus natura humana. This last 
divine-human self-consciousness is not the full comprehen- 
sive Logos-consciousness, though rooted therein; for in 
that case the world-embracing Logos-consciousness must 
have extinguished itself pro tempore, which (from the 
Reformed point of view) is impossible. If, therefore, such 



Appendix. — Lecture III. — Note B. 387 

a temporary darkening of the divine self-consciousness be 
inadmissible, then the divine-human self-consciousness of 
the Logos occultatus must be only a shadowy time-image 
(abbildliche zeitliche Schattirung) of the eternal, absolute 
Trinitarian Logos-consciousness, resting thereon as its 
foundation: the latter must embrace the former as the 
(ontinens of the contention. Therefore the impersonality is 
not to be taken in the sense, that a human self-conscious- 
ness is not ascribed to Jesus. Quite opposed to this con- 
struction is the scientia habitualis, which, as a habitual 
knowledge in the objective sense, presupposes a focus ol 
habitual self-consciousness, whereby alone the verus et Justus 
homo can subsist. The scientia personalis, i.e. the omnisci- 
ence of the second person of the Trinity, the God-man had 
only potentially (an sich), not as a knowledge really per- 
vading and thereby annihilating the time-series of His 
inner life movement (seiner innern Lebensmomente), but 
the Logos self-consciousness was here only as the God- 
consciousness of the human self-consciousness, and so the 
being of God in Him was the light image of the eternal 
divine self-consciousness focusing itself in His human soul 
(der in seine menschliche Seele fallende abbildliche Strahl 
des ewigen gottlichen Selbstbewusstseins). The whole 
normal human soul of Jesus never had a self-consciousness, 
nay, not even a moment of unconscious vital feeling previous 
to the awakening of self-consciousness, in which the Logos 
had not an absolutely determining influence on the life- 
course, so that this person never stood outside the relation 
to the Logos as the determining power; that relation was 
for Him the living conscious First in His self-consciousness. 
Such is the impersonalitas" 



LECTURE IV. 

Note A.— Page 145. 

To the Thomasian type of kenosis may be referred Konig, 
Delitzsch, and Kahnis. Konig anticipated Thomasius. 
The statement on page 139 is correct only in the sense that 
Thomasius was the first to present the kenotic theory in 
developed form. The idea had been propounded, previous 
to the appearance of his Beitrdge in 1845, by K6nig in Die 
Menschiverdung Gottes ah eine in Christus geschehene, unci 
in der christlichen Kirche nocJi geschehende, dargestellt, 
Mainz 1844. Konig, as may be gathered from the title of 
his book, teaches a double Incarnation, one of the Logos in 
Christ, and one of the Holy Spirit in the Church collectively. 
The former of the two Incarnations he regards from the 
kenotic point of view, and his mode of presenting the doc- 
trine is substantially the same as that of Thomasius. The 
Logos empties Himself of omniscience and omnipotence in 
assuming human nature (in its integrity), and so becomes a 
divine-human personality. " The Scripture calls the tran- 
sition of the Logos out of the infinitude of God into the 
finitude of human existence a kevgo6is, self-emptying, or liter- 
ally, self-void-making. . . . The self-emptying must, with- 
out doubt, be conceived in accordance with the words of 
Christ and of His apostle, as a true emptying of self; with 
the entering into humanity, and in its gradual development, 
and from its first beginnings, the \<lyoi freely subjected 
Himself, in the fulness of His infinite love, to the law of a 
human gradual development; He gave up the glory, bright- 
ness, and majesty which He had with the Father before 
the foundation of the world. . . . He renounced the majesty 



Appendix. — Lecture IV. — Note A. 389 

of His omniscience as such, and retained it only as a com- 
pletely pure, untroubled conscience, or if one prefers the 
word, God-consciousness; the omnipotence as such He de- 
livered over to the Father, and in passing into humanity He 
retained the decision for His Father and His will, and the 
impulse to do this will." [ " Den Uebergang des Logos aus 
der Unendlichkeit des Gottes in die Endlichkeit des Mensch- 
endaseins bezeichnet die heilige Schrift als eine h£ygo6is; 
als Selbstentausserung oder wortlich Selbstleerung. . . . 
Die Selbstentausserung muss aber ohne Zvveifel als eine 
wahre Entausserung oder Sich-Leermachung ganz dem 
Worte Christi und seines Apostels gemass gefasst werden; 
mit dem Eintreten in die Menschheit und in deren all- 
mahlige Entwickelung, und zwar von ihren ersten Anfangen 
an, unterwarf sich der \6yos in der Fiille seiner unendlichen 
Liebe dem Gesetze menschlicher allmahlige Entwickelung 
freiwillig, er gab die Herrlichkeit, Klarheit, und Majestat 
auf, die er hatte bei dem Vater vor Grundlegung der 
Welt. . . . auf die Majestat seiner Allwissenheit als sol- 
cher verzichtete er, und behielt sie als vollendet reines 
ungetriibtes Gewissen, oder wenn man lieber will, Gottes- 
bewusstsein; die Allmacht als solcher iiberliess er dem 
Vater, und behielt, in die Menschheit ubergehend, die 
Entschiedenheit fur seinen Vater und dessen Willen, und 
den Trieb, diesen Willen zu thun " (pp. 296-298).] Again: 
" The kenosis is the great idea by which, apprehended in 
accordance with Scripture, the reality of a true Christology 
can come into existence. The kenosis contains the idea of 
self-limitation which the Logos in the exercise of His own 
will, in agreement with the will of His Father, has willed 
and carried into effect. . . . This limitation was possible 
only by God Himself in the Logos subjecting Himself to 
the process of mediation, out of love, yea, out of infinite 
love (to sinful humanity). He subjected Himself freely to 
the law of gradual development." [" Die k£vgd6is ist die 
grosse Idee durch deren offenbarung- und schriftgemasse 
Auffassung die Wirklichkeit einer wahren Christologie allein 
wird zu Stande kommen. Die kenosis enthalt die Idee der 
Selbstverendlichung, Selbstbeschrankung die vom Ao>o5 
frei aus seinem eigenen dem vaterlichen entsprechenden 



390 The Humiliation of Christ. 

Willen und Wesen gewollt und gesetzt wird. . . . Diese 
Verendlichung war gar nicht anders moglich als dass Gott 
selbst im Logos dem Prozess der Vermittlung sich unterwarf; 
aus Liebe, ja aus unendliche Liebe (to sinful humamty) 
unterzog er frei sich dem Gezetze allmahliger Entwicklung " 
(p. 338).] To the objection that the kenosis violates the 
unchangeableness of God, Konig replies, that God the 
Logos, by submitting to the kenosis involved in Incarna- 
tion, showed the most un